AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei

AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei
December 26, 2012, 5:12 pm
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Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Dan Pompei of Chicago Tribune:

Week 17

DAN POMPEI (Chicago Tribune)

1. Denver Broncos - They have won 10 straight and have not played in a tight game since Nov. 18. They are far and away the hottest team in the AFC.

2. Green Bay Packers - If they can deny Adrian Peterson and the Vikings from making the playoffs, they will make a major statement about where they could be headed.

3. Atlanta Falcons - It looks like Matt Ryan might be truly coming of age at the right time for the Falcons.

4. Seattle Seahawks - They have scored 120 points more than their last three opponents and officially have become the team no one wants to play in the postseason.

5. San Francisco 49ers - When they are on, they are as good as anyone. But occasionally, they are off.

6. New England Patriots - They have not brought their "A" game for two straight weeks now.

7. Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson is banged up, but 11 men couldn't stop him from playing Sunday. And 11 men won't be able to stop him from playing well, either.

8. Houston Texans - They have lost two of three and now must play at Indianapolis, where they have lost 10 straight.

9. Washington Redskins - RG3 has one more chance to make the Redskins a playoff team and to make himself rookie of the year.

10. Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco and the Ravens might have turned it around at just the right time. They need to keep the train rolling against the Bengals Sunday.

11. Indianapolis Colts - They will get an emotional boost from the return of Chuck Pagano this week, as if they need one.

12. Cincinnati Bengals - They are locked in as the sixth seed in the playoffs, but Marvin Lewis is saying they won't put their feet up and coast this week.

13. Chicago Bears - We know they can beat a bad team, but they have not beaten a good team in a long time.

14. New York Giants - Sunday against the Ravens was a defining game for the 2012 Giants. As a result of the loss, they likely won't have any more opportunities for defining games.

15. St. Louis Rams - The good news is they are scoring touchdowns on passes. The bad news is it's usually cornerback Janoris Jenkins doing the scoring.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers - Be careful what you wish for, angry Steelers fans. Firing Mike Tomlin is not the answer.

17. New Orleans Saints - The best they can hope for is to finish the season with a three game win streak and a .500 record.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Their season up to this point has been defined by meltdowns, the latest of which happened Sunday against the Saints.

19. Miami Dolphins - It's too late for Ryan Tannehill to get in on the rookie of the year discussion, but he has not thrown an interception in his last 136 attempts.

20. Carolina Panthers - After a 2-8 start, they have won four of their last five. Winning their finale would make a strong argument to retain Ron Rivera.

21. New York Jets - Tim Tebow is refusing to play in the wildcat, but he apparently is not refusing to cash his paycheck.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This is how you define streakiness - losing three in a row, winning five of six, and then losing five straight.

23. Cleveland Browns - Brandon Weeden is not finishing the season well. He has thrown three touchdowns and five interceptions over his last five games, and now he has a sprained right shoulder.

24. San Diego Chargers - They are playing their best football of the season when it's too late to matter.

25. Buffalo Bills - They will finish in last place for the fifth straight year and miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year. You think changes are coming?

26. Tennessee Titans - Given the success other young quarterbacks are having, the Titans can't feel very good about where Jake Locker is in his development.

27. Philadelphia Eagles - Being forced to play Michael Vick isn't a bad thing for the Eagles, especially given how Nick Foles has played.

28. Oakland Raiders - Dennis Allen says Terrelle Pryor is not ready to be the No. 2 quarterback after nearly two NFL seasons. That might mean he never will be ready to be a starter.

29. Arizona Cardinals - You can blame the Cardinals' ineptitude on Kurt Warner. They haven't been the same since he retired after the 2009 season.

30. Detroit Lions - Calvin Johnson might be getting meaningless yards, but they count the same as meaningful yards in the record books.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mike Mularkey passed out baseball bats prior to the Jaguars' last game. This week, players are hoping for golf clubs.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - It takes a bad team to run for 352 yards and lose.



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