Wednesday, December 26, 2012
AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Dan Pompei of Chicago Tribune:
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.
http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL