|AP Pro32 ballot from Marvez|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:59|
ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)
1. New England Patriots - Their record isn't as good, but a 42-14 thumping of Houston makes the Patriots the team to beat in the AFC.
2. Denver Broncos - A win Sunday at Baltimore would go a long way toward keeping Denver's hopes for a first-round playoff bye alive. The Broncos would lose head-to-head tiebreakers against Houston and New England because of early season losses.
3. San Francisco 49ers - It was the kind of physical victory that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh cherishes. San Francisco's rushing attack produced 117 second-half yards and wore down Miami's strong run defense in a 27-13 home victory.
4. Houston Texans - Put the letterman jackets back in the closet.
5. New York Giants - If a 52-27 rout of New Orleans is a true indicator, the Giants may be getting hot yet again at just the right time.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Maybe the Falcons will stop worrying about a lack of national media "respect" and earn it with performances better than the one they gave in Sunday's 30-20 loss to Carolina.
7. Green Bay Packers - Beware the Packers. Green Bay has won seven of its past eight games and is now getting Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson back from injuries at a critical stretch of the season.
8. Baltimore Ravens - Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had better hope the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron results in more points to cover for a defense ravaged by injuries.
9. Indianapolis Colts - Another close game, another Colts win.
10. Seattle Seahawks - The NFL's best home-field advantage this season was on display once again as the Seahawks waxed Arizona, 58-0.
11. Chicago Bears - Having lost four of their past five games, the Bears must get on track ASAP or risk missing the playoffs entirely. Unfortunately for Chicago, Green Bay is next on the schedule.
12. Washington Redskins - Can the Redskins win if rookie sensation Robert Griffin III is out Sunday against Cleveland? We'll find out if the quarterback isn't sufficiently healed from a sprained knee suffered last Sunday against Baltimore.
13. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals squandered too many opportunities for touchdowns in a 20-19 loss to Dallas.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Just like Kansas City the week before, Dallas showed impressive resiliency in the face of off-field tragedy with a comeback win in Cincinnati.
15. Minnesota Vikings - With the way he is running, Adrian Peterson may be able to carry the Vikings all the way into the playoffs while breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers - A 34-24 home loss to what was a slumping San Diego squad could ultimately cost the Steelers a playoff berth.
17. St. Louis Rams - Thanks to a surging defense, the Rams remain alive in the playoff race.
18. New York Jets - The offense is painful to watch, but two straight wins have the Jets still in postseason contention.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Woeful pass defense is the biggest reason behind a three-game losing streak that has bumped the Buccaneers from being a legitimate playoff contender.
20. New Orleans Saints - An awful year for the franchise can't end soon enough now that the Saints (5-8) are basically out of the playoff picture.
21. Cleveland Browns - Although the Browns have won three straight games for the first time since late 2009, how Cleveland performs against Washington, Denver and Pittsburgh in the final three weeks will provide a better gauge of how far along the team's rebuilding process truly is.
22. San Diego Chargers - Norv Turner is almost certainly on his way out as Chargers coach, but a 34-24 upset of Pittsburgh proved his team hasn't stopped playing hard for him.
23. Buffalo Bills - Under coordinator Dave Wannstedt, the Bills have turned their season around defensively to become one of the league's top units over the past five games. That won't be good enough, though, to end a 13-year postseason drought with the Bills dropping to 5-8 following a 15-12 home loss to St. Louis.
24. Carolina Panthers - After struggling for half the season, Cam Newton has played as well as any quarterback over the past three games. However, it's too little too late with the Panthers at 4-9.
25. Miami Dolphins - Miami's offense continues to regress with a 27-13 loss to San Francisco marking the eighth time the Dolphins failed to gain 300 yards.
26. Detroit Lions - On the bright side for one of the NFL's most disappointing teams, Detroit's five-game losing streak should end Sunday against a team that has dropped nine straight contests - Arizona.
27. Tennessee Titans - The latest way for the Titans to fall - getting outscored 20-3 in the second half of a 27-23 loss at Indianapolis.
28. Philadelphia Eagles - With a 381-yard passing performance and the game-winning touchdown toss as time expired, Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles staked his claim for the starting job entering 2013 in last Sunday's 23-21 win at Tampa Bay.
29. Oakland Raiders - As a six-game losing streak grows, it becomes harder each week to find something the Raiders are doing well.
30. Arizona Cardinals - Freshly claimed Brian Hoyer can't do any worse at quarterback than the two schmoes Arizona fielded in last Sunday's 58-0 blanking in Seattle.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - After an 80-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles on the first play from scrimmage, Kansas City went scoreless for the final 59:48 in a 30-7 loss at Cleveland.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Over the past six games, the Jaguars have surrendered an average of 157.3 yards rushing while producing just 76.7 yards on the ground offensively. Not surprisingly, Jacksonville is 1-5 in that stretch following last Sunday's 17-10 loss to the New York Jets.
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