AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Dan Pompei of Chicago Tribune:
DAN POMPEI (Chicago Tribune)
1. Arizona Cardinals - They have won eight in a row at home. Even if a lot of the wins have been ugly, they still count.
2. Atlanta Falcons - Successful teams always catch breaks. The Falcons caught one Sunday, and then they showed they could capitalize.
3. Houston Texans - They might be the most complete team in the league, as they can beat an opponent any way you can think of.
4. Baltimore Ravens - They should be well-rested and more dangerous than before when they play the Chiefs.
5. San Francisco 49ers - Now they get three straight at home and could be 7-1 at the midway point.
6. Philadelphia Eagles - In a pass happy league, there is something to be said for the team that might have the best pass defense.
7. Green Bay Packers - The Pack might have saved their season Sunday, or, more accurately, Saints kicker Garrett Hartley might have saved the Packers' season.
8. New England Patriots - Even when they don't have all hands on deck, this team still can flex its offensive muscle with anyone.
9. Chicago Bears - The Bears finally have a really impressive win; now they need to string a few together.
10. New York Giants - Eli Manning can't always pull the rabbit out of his hat, but he can most of the time.
11. San Diego Chargers - The Chargers keep winning the ones they are supposed to win.
12. Cincinnati Bengals - Three straight wins has the Bengals trending up. We'll see if the trend continues against the Dolphins.
13. Minnesota Vikings - They keep answering challenges very impressively, but we still need to see more from Christian Ponder and company.
14. Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning gets another shot at Tom Brady next weekend. He could use Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.
15. Dallas Cowboys - They are a little nicked up on defense, but they also are completely out of sync on offense.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers - Most teams don't like an early bye, but it looks like it came at a good time for the Steelers.
17. Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks are starting to look like one of the most inconsistent teams in the league: capable of winning the ones they aren't supposed to win, and capable of losing the ones they are supposed to win.
18. Washington Redskins - With RGIII, they rank 17th; without him, they'd rank 117th.
19. Detroit Lions - If there is a way to lose, the Lions apparently will find it. This is one of the NFL's most enigmatic teams.
20. Buffalo Bills - If Mario Williams doesn't start picking it up, there are going to be a lot of 2013 free agents who suffer because so far, Williams has been an argument against spending big money.
21. New York Jets - It may not be Tebow time yet, but it will be soon if the Jets continue down the path they are on.
22. St. Louis Rams - If they go as far as Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein takes them, they will go pretty far.
23. Kansas City Chiefs - The sharks have begun to circle Matt Cassel. He needs to pick it up against the Ravens.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Good news: Josh Freeman might be starting to click.
25. Carolina Panthers - They can make a great statement if they can bounce back from their crushing loss to the Falcons.
26. Miami Dolphins - If Cameron Wake could play on both sides of the ball, the Dolphins could be a contender.
27. Oakland Raiders - Unless they figure out how to contain a premier quarterback, they have no chance.
28. Tennessee Titans - At least Chris Johnson got rolling Sunday. But the Titans have bigger issues.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars - Their offense is a train wreck and their defense is struggling. Other than that, the Jags are OK.
30. Indianapolis Colts - Maybe they can win one for Chuck Pagano this week.
31. New Orleans Saints - You might argue they deserve some credit for almost beating the Packers, but the Saints need to show they win before they get any credit.
32. Cleveland Browns - They keep getting close. Too bad this isn't horseshoes.
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