Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Ira Kaufman of Tampa Tribune:
IRA KAUFMAN (Tampa Tribune)
1. Denver Broncos - The AFC's playoff path runs through Peyton's Place, where GPS won't help you proceed.
2. Seattle Seahawks - Sunday's difference? Russell Wilson has a better defense behind him than Robert Griffin III.
3. San Francisco 49ers - Very quietly, WR Michael Crabtree is on the brink of elite status.
4. New England Patriots - Outscored opponents by an average margin of 14 points per game. Ho hum.
5. Atlanta Falcons - Few franchises have entered the postseason with more to prove.
6. Green Bay Packers - Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood is dangerous this time of the year.
7. Houston Texans - Can they regain the championship glow that faded in the winter chill?
8. Cincinnati Bengals - They have the pass rush to force Matt Schaub into mistakes.
9. Baltimore Ravens - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are steeling themselves for one last roundup.
10. Washington Redskins - Led by two impact rookies, the NFL's No. 5 offense is rolling downhill.
11. Minnesota Vikings - It will be challenging for Christian Ponder to keep his cool at frosty Lambeau.
12. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to win 11 games despite allowing 30 more points than they scored.
13. Chicago Bears - The Bears wasted a lot of good defense, so Lovie Smith paid the ultimate NFL price.
14. New York Giants - Speaking of good defense, the Giants don't have much to say.
15. Dallas Cowboys - Everything's bigger in Texas, especially the annual late-season disappointment.
16. New Orleans Saints - After a year off for bad behavior, Sean Payton returns to torment NFC defenses.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - The NFL's No. 1 defense is home for the holidays, thanks to 30 giveaways.
18. St. Louis Rams - Made some strides within the division in Jeff Fisher's first season.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman's development is the key for the Bucs to take the next step.
20. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton and Co. finished strong, but more playmakers are needed.
21. San Diego Chargers - How could a team with Philip Rivers and Norv Turner finish 31st on offense?
22. Miami Dolphins - If Ryan Tannehill doesn't take a big leap forward, the Fins are going nowhere.
23. Buffalo Bills - All that dough for Ryan Fitzpatrick and not much to show for it.
24. Tennessee Titans - The Titans used to be known for aggressive, physical defense. Not anymore.
25. New York Jets - With this defense, they don't need a franchise quarterback just a reliable one.
26. Cleveland Browns - Another last-place finish triggered a rather thorough housecleaning.
27. Arizona Cardinals - Ask Ken Whisenhunt how important a QB is to an NFL team's success.
28. Detroit Lions - That 0-6 division record could have been enough to get Jim Schwartz canned.
29. Philadelphia Eagles - The dream (team) is no more. Wake up, Philly fans, and smell the rebuilding plan.
30. Oakland Raiders - Pride and poise are in short supply in the East Bay, along with wins.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - With a new owner calling the shots, the next move could be a call to Mr. Tebow.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - Some stats don't lie. The Chiefs threw eight TD passes all season. That's correct, eight.