AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Dan Pompei of Chicago Tribune:
DAN POMPEI (Chicago Tribune)
1. Houston Texans - They proved they are no fluke by winning against a tough Bears team in bad conditions Sunday.
2. Atlanta Falcons - Did anyone really think they were the '72 Dolphins? They are allowed one mulligan.
3. Chicago Bears - No disgrace in losing to the Texans when the Bears' starting QB is in the locker room.
4. Baltimore Ravens - Confidence is sky high at the right time - two of the next three are against the Steelers.
5. San Francisco 49ers - They have allowed an NFL-low 127 points, but if they had allowed one fewer they would be 7-2 instead of 6-2-1.
6. Green Bay Packers - They need to survive a tough stretch of schedule before the cavalry arrives of players who currently are injured.
7. New England Patriots - The offense is humming; will Aqib Talib save the defense?
8. Denver Broncos - In all phases of the game, they are looking better and better by the week.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers - They beat the Chiefs without Big Ben, but the Steelers need their quarterback healthy to win down the stretch.
10. Indianapolis Colts - They may have less hair on their heads, but they've been playing like they have more hair on their chests.
11. New York Giants - If anyone knows who is wearing No. 10 for this team and what he did with Eli Manning, please alert the authorities.
12. Seattle Seahawks - They are 6-4, but winless in the NFC West and 4-4 in the NFC - which is not a good scenario for their postseason chances.
13. Minnesota Vikings - If Christian Ponder plays like he played Sunday, the Vikings are going to surprise some people in the last seven weeks of the season.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - While everyone was talking about Doug Martin, Josh Freeman quietly has gotten on a hot streak.
15. New Orleans Saints - They look like a different team since Joe Vitt came back from his suspension.
16. Cincinnati Bengals - After beating the Giants, they have a chance to go on a roll with games against the Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Cowboys and Eagles.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Cowboys get five of their next six at home and could get hot.
18. Detroit Lions - After a loss to the Vikings, the Lions are looking at playing their next four games against teams with a combined winning percentage of .740.
19. Miami Dolphins - Dolphins scored 3 points against the Titans. Some opponents have put up more than that against Tennessee before the last note of the national anthem.
20. San Diego Chargers - Chargers are 1-4 in their last five, and it won't get easier this week with a trip to Denver.
21. St. Louis Rams - It is not true that Chris Givens and Janoris Jenkins were running up the stairs at Candlestick Park because they were really hungry and wanted to catch the hot dog vendor.
22. Arizona Cardinals - Will the return of Beanie Wells stop the Cardinals' skid?
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Now it's Nick Foles' turn. Does everybody think that's a good thing?
24. New York Jets - The Jets have lost three straight and if it isn't Tebow time now, maybe it never will be.
25. Washington Redskins - They are not very reliable when it comes to defending the pass or predicting presidential elections.
26. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker is back in the lineup, and all is well.
27. Buffalo Bills - They have lost five of six, but optimist Chan Gailey said there is "still a chance." Skeptics would say there still is a chance for the Bills to end up with the first pick of the draft.
28. Carolina Panthers - Jerry Richardson says he does not want the team to go west to L.A. Instead, the Panthers just keep going further south.
29. Oakland Raiders - Coach Dennis Allen is a defensive expert, but the Raiders have allowed at least 40 points in two straight games.
30. Cleveland Browns - It's too late to back out of the deal now, Jimmy Haslam.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - If only they could bring back Marty Schottenheimer. Or Hank Stram.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mike Mularkey has taken to throwing things. And some think his throws have been more impressive than Blaine Gabbert's.
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