|AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:59|
BOB GLAUBER (Newsday)
1. New England Patriots - The bigger the stage, the better Tom Brady plays. Another Monday night masterpiece, and the Patriots declare themselves the best team in the game right now.
2. Denver Broncos - The MVP tour rolls on for Peyton Manning, who has won eight straight, but only two against teams currently with winning records. Huge test in Baltimore this week.
3. San Francisco 49ers - Two more sacks from Aldon Smith, who is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. And now for the two-week stretch that could decide playoff positioning: at New England and at Seattle.
4. Houston Texans - Matt Schaub overmatched against Tom Brady in a statement game - a very bad statement game - for Houston. If there's a rematch in January, Texans better hope it's in Houston.
5. Atlanta Falcons - Off day in Carolina or were the Falcons exposed? They'll find out quickly when they host the defending Super Bowl champs on Sunday.
6. New York Giants - Giants are at their best when their backs are against the wall. Latest example was 52-27 thumping of New Orleans at home. Rookie David Wilson was brilliant on kickoff returns and injected himself into the running back rotation.
7. Indianapolis Colts - Another second-half comeback for Andrew Luck, who already has six of them in his first 13 games. Ridiculous.
8. Green Bay Packers - Win and you're in: If Green Bay beats the wounded Bears on the road on Sunday, they clinch the NFC North. Pack gets in position to win the division with solid, if unspectacular effort against Detroit.
9. Baltimore Ravens - Two losses, more problems on offense, and John Harbaugh has had enough. Out with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and in with Jim Caldwell. Risky move, but worth it for Harbaugh. Tough first task when Baltimore hosts Caldwell's old pal Peyton Manning.
10. Seattle Seahawks - It's like Pete Carroll is back at USC beating up on Washington State. Seahawks absolutely pummel Cardinals 58-0, only 11 points from equaling Carroll's most lopsided win in college.
11. Washington Redskins - Good news for RG3 that he didn't end his season with that knee injury. But it's a sobering reminder that the kid needs to stay in the pocket more for his own good.
12. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler insists he'll be OK after a case of whiplash against the Vikings. Bears trust he's right. Cutler's their only hope.
13. Minnesota Vikings - Not sure we've seen anything like Adrian Peterson before. Still not even a year since reconstructive surgery, and he just might be a 2,000-yard rusher.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Dramatic and emotional comeback win in Cincinnati for the Cowboys, who are still mourning the loss of practice squad player Jerry Brown. Tony Romo's comeback may have saved the season.
15. Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals blow nine-point lead against Cowboys and need to recover quickly. At Philly is no lock, and then it's at Pittsburgh and home to Baltimore. Bengals on the bubble right now.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers - On the day Ben Roethlisberger came back, the Steelers' defense left. Roethlisberger didn't help with an interception and a botched screen pass.
17. St. Louis Rams - Jeff Fisher probably won't win Coach of the Year honors, but he has done a sensational job getting this Rams team competitive this quickly. He has already tripled last year's win total.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Rough day for Josh Freeman and the Bucs' defense. Freeman bad early and the defense bad late. Decisive blow for Bucs' playoff chances.
19. New Orleans Saints - Looks like the Saints are done after getting blown out against the Giants. Just a horrid stretch for Drew Brees, who has only one touchdown and seven INTs in his last two games.
20. Detroit Lions - Losing streak to Packers now at 22, longest in the NFL. That kind of year for a Lions team that looked so promising coming in.
21. Miami Dolphins - Dolphins just not in 49ers' league. Home game against Jacksonville on Sunday more their speed.
22. New York Jets - Could the Jets recover enough after Mark Sanchez's infamous "butt fumble" to make the playoffs? Not out of the question if the Jets win out.
23. San Diego Chargers - As the saying goes, the 15th time's the charm. San Diego beats the Stillers in Pittsburgh for the first time in 15 regular-season visits, this just days after a report that said Norv Turner is out after the season.
24. Carolina Panthers - Stunning performance by Cam Newton against the Falcons. Makes you wonder why this hasn't happened more often this season.
25. Buffalo Bills - OK, so Chan Gailey was technically wrong when he said the Bills are out of the playoff picture. But if they do get there, it would make the Frank Reich's comeback against the Oilers look like child's play.
26. Cleveland Browns - Progress, yes. Enough to convince Jimmy Haslam to stick with Pat Shurmur? Probably not.
27. Philadelphia Eagles - Nick Foles in a terrific comeback win over the Buccaneers, winning at the buzzer and giving the Iggles some hope for the future.
28. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker outplays Andrew Luck early, but falters in second half with that stunning interception from his own 1-yard line. Game over.
29. Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals have had some bad losses in their mostly sorry history, but 58-0 in Seattle tops 'em all. Ken Whisenhunt gets the rest of the year, but might get the gate at the end.
30. Kansas City Chiefs - Brady Quinn goes back to Cleveland, but shows why the Browns gave up on him.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Chad Henne not doing much to convince the Jags he'll be the guy next year.
32. Oakland Raiders - Raiders owe Carson Palmer $13 million next season. Doubt he'll see that cash.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL