AP Pro32 ballot from Marvez
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com:
ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)
1. Houston Texans - At some point during the season, every good team deserves a mulligan for performing poorly against a weaker opponent. I'm giving one to the Texans for last Sunday's 43-37 overtime victory over lowly Jacksonville.
2. Denver Broncos - The Broncos have all but won the AFC West, but Denver must hope losing running back Willis McGahee (leg) doesn't disrupt the team's offensive rhythm.
3. New England Patriots - With the way both played last Sunday in New England's 59-24 blowout of Indianapolis, it's clear Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady has a ways to go before becoming anywhere near the same quality of rivalry that Brady experienced against former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
4. San Francisco 49ers - Let the quarterback controversy begin after backup Colin Kaepernick did a brilliant job replacing the injured Alex Smith (concussion) in Monday night's 32-7 waxing of Chicago.
5. Atlanta Falcons - Mulligan No. 2 goes to the Falcons for winning despite some grotesque stretches during 23-19 victory over Arizona.
6. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens' offense didn't play well enough to win in Pittsburgh. No matter. The defense and special-teams carried the day.
7. Green Bay Packers - Usually, it's Detroit that needs last-minute heroics to win. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers turned the tables by leading the late game-winning drive in last week's 24-20 road victory.
8. Seattle Seahawks - It's a long trip to South Florida, but the Seahawks may be catching slumping Miami at just the right time.
9. New York Giants - The Giants must hope the rest and coaching adjustments that come during a bye week help end a two-game losing streak.
10. Chicago Bears - The Bears are in trouble until quarterback Jay Cutler recovers from his concussion. Even then, can his offensive line keep Cutler from getting hurt again?
11. Pittsburgh Steelers - Anyone have Bubby Brister's telephone number? At the rate Pittsburgh is losing quarterbacks, the Steelers need all the help they can get.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who caught the touchdown and 2-point conversion that sent Sunday's 27-21 victory over Carolina into overtime, is proving worth every penny of the five-year, $55.56 million contract he signed as a free agent.
13. New Orleans Saints - Maybe - just maybe - the Saints can become the second team in NFL history to start 0-4 and still reach the playoffs.
14. Cincinnati Bengals - A strong argument can be made that wide receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins are the best players at their respective positions in the AFC.
15. Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys don't get a mulligan for needing overtime to defeat Cleveland. Struggling in games that shouldn't be so close is par for the course in Dallas.
16. Indianapolis Colts - Coming off a devastating loss to New England, how the Colts respond Sunday against Buffalo will say a lot about whether this is a bona fide playoff contender.
17. Minnesota Vikings - How the Vikings fare the next three weeks against Chicago (twice) and Green Bay will determine Minnesota's postseason viability.
18. Detroit Lions - At 4-6, Detroit's playoff hopes are on life support. The plug will be pulled if the Lions don't win at home Thursday against, gulp, Houston.
19. Buffalo Bills - A dominating performance against Miami should go a long way toward boosting the confidence of Dave Wannstedt's beleaguered defense.
20. New York Jets - Following a week of media-generated turmoil, a 27-13 road win over St. Louis proved New York hasn't given up on the season just yet.
21. San Diego Chargers - Poor blocking + Philip Rivers turnovers No playoffs.
22. Washington Redskins - Nothing like Philadelphia's discombobulated defense to help Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III get back on track after a two-game slump.
23. Tennessee Titans - Maybe team owner Bud Adams won't have to fire anyone. The Titans (4-6) will be back in the playoff hunt with a victory Sunday against Jacksonville.
24. Miami Dolphins - With the lack of talent on offense and at cornerback being exposed during a two-game losing streak, the heat is back on general manager Jeff Ireland for his offseason personnel decisions.
25. Arizona Cardinals - Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley Whoever is under center for the Cardinals can't stop the bleeding during a six-game losing streak.
26. St. Louis Rams - After a gritty 24-24 tie at San Francisco, it's hard to believe this was the same Rams team that was manhandled at home against the Jets.
27. Philadelphia Eagles - So long, Andy Reid.
28. Carolina Panthers - Adieu, Ron Rivera.
29. Cleveland Browns - A heartbreaking overtime loss to Dallas guarantees Cleveland its ninth non-winning season in 10 years.
30. Oakland Raiders - The Raiders have surrendered an average of 45 points and 439 yards over the past three losses.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Chad Henne's surprising success against Houston can also be considered a damning indictment of Blaine Gabbert's viability as a franchise quarterback.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Any momentum generated from a gutsy performance in a Monday night loss at Pittsburgh was squandered by a putrid showing in a 28-6 loss to Cincinnati.
http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
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