AP Pro32 ballot from Lynch
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter John Lynch of Fox Sports:
JOHN LYNCH (Fox Sports)
1. Houston Texans - Impressive win for the Texans in an old school, bad weather, tough, brawl vs. the Bears in Chicago. They have earned and belong in the top spot.
2. Atlanta Falcons - A loss vs. New Orleans possibly the best thing that could have happened to the Falcons. A very good team that needs to improve its run offense and tackling on defense to do something they have been unable to do of late. Win in the postseason.
3. Chicago Bears - The Bears defense played as great as they have all year vs. the Texans. They didn't score on defense, and the offense without a concussed Jay Cutler couldn't either.
4. Green Bay Packers - The Pack and their QB Aaron Rogers are 6-3 and starting to play real good football. A bye should have star players Clay Matthews and Greg Jennings closer to a healthy return.
5. Denver Broncos - The Broncos are getting better as a team every week. All phases are pitching in. The defense held Cam Newton and the Panthers to 0 for 12 on third down, special teams have TD returns past two weeks, and Peyton and his offense continue to get better.
6. San Francisco 49ers - A tie? Yes a tie. Alex Smith a little more valuable than the critics think?
7. New England Patriots - They held on vs. the Bills but this defense needs to tighten up to win another Lombardi.
8. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens put a beatdown on the Raiders. They scored 55, albeit against the Raiders, who have given up 97 points in the last two games.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers - It certainly wasn't pretty beating the Chiefs in OT. What might be even more ugly is the thought of playing without QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured and may miss some time.
10. Seattle Seahawks - Seattle is a good football team. The defense is suffocating. Rookie QB Russell Wilson is as good as there is at home and about as bad as there is on the road. He needs to play like he's at home all the time for them to win consistently.
11. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts are having a magical season, inspired by the fight of their coach Chuck Pagano and a rookie QB who looks nothing like a rookie.
12. New York Giants - My preseason No. 1 's inconsistent play of late has them dropping. I still believe this is a team that will challenge for the Lombardi. I'm starting to get concerned, though. Can they pull it together?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs continue to score points in bunches. They lost another starter in LB Quincy Black this week. They have embodied the "next man up" mindset better than anyone, but at what point does the reliance on depth - on a team where depth was an issue to start - catch up to them?
14. Dallas Cowboys - A huge win over the Eagles. I said last week that this is a team capable of making a run. With Cleveland and Washington in the near future, it looks like a distinct possibility.
15. Minnesota Vikings - Was it a blessing in disguise that the NFL's leading WR going into last weekend Percy Harvin was out? I think so. It allowed QB Christian Ponder to "run an offense" and go through progressions as opposed to feeling compelled to feed Harvin. Against Detroit, Ponder threw to nine different receivers (10 counting himself) and looked good doing so. Now they will welcome Harvin back after the bye.
16. New Orleans Saints - The offense remains explosive and is improved as they are utilizing their RB's more often and effectively. The defense is improving ... baby steps on defense.
17. Miami Dolphins - Oops. Back to reality for QB Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins. Four turnovers will do that to you.
18. Detroit Lions - A talented football team that is struggling to win consistently. They have underachieved and need to turn it on now to play in the second season. They are capable, but face a tough schedule moving forward.
19. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals unleashed some frustration on the defending champion Giants and were impressive in doing so!
20. San Diego Chargers - Having played against him a lot, I have a great deal of respect for Philip Rivers. However, the harsh reality is he used to be a closer, now he wilts in the fourth quarter.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - The Nick Foles era begins in Philly.
22. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals had a bye and better have figured some things out.
23. Washington Redskins - The Redskins are reeling as their defense doesn't have the horses and RG3 is showing he is human.
24. Buffalo Bills - The Bills are battling tough the last couple of weeks in defeats to the Texans and Pats. Tough competition.
25. St. Louis Rams - The Rams had an opportunity to beat the 49er's as Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yard field goal ... but wait, delay of game and then even "Greg the Leg" couldn't make a 58 yarder. So it's a tie.
26. Tennessee Titans - After being humiliated by the Bears, owner Bud Adams says everyone's job is on the line. Maybe Bud ought to say this every week as they pounded the Dolphins 37-3.
27. New York Jets - Seattle routed the Jets 28-7. It wasn't that close.
28. Carolina Panthers - The Panthers "out Foxed" soundly in their old coaches return.
29. Oakland Raiders - The Raiders have given up 97 points in the last two games. Enough said!
30. Cleveland Browns - Changes are likely to come in Cleveland.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jags were outclassed by the surging Colts.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Gutty effort giving the Steelers everything they could handle.
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