AP Pro32 ballot from Pompei

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Associated Press

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 4:06 PM

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Dan Pompei of Chicago Tribune:

Week 15

DAN POMPEI (Chicago Tribune)

1. New England Patriots — Step into Bill Belichick's web, Colin Kaepernick.

2. Denver Broncos — They need to beat the Ravens in order to keep their hopes alive for a first round playoff bye.

3. Green Bay Packers — Mike McCarthy believes this team can be better than the 15-1 Packers of a year ago. Can the Bears make him look wrong on Sunday?

4. San Francisco 49ers — Beating the Dolphins was one thing; beating the Patriots would be something else.

5. Houston Texans — In three of their last four games, Texans have a blowout loss to the Patriots and close call wins against the Jaguars and Lions. Any question about which direction the Texans are headed?

6. Atlanta Falcons — Was loss to the Panthers a blip, or was it the start of a tailspin?

7. New York Giants — If NFL teams had no secondaries, the Giants would be No. 1.

8. Indianapolis Colts — The best teams can win games in different ways. The Colts have done that.

9. Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens defense needs a savior. What do you know, here comes Ray Lewis.

10. Seattle Seahawks — They are starting to have the look of a team you would not want to be playing in January.

11. Washington Redskins — You know things are going their way when Kirk Cousins can lead them to an overtime victory over a formidable opponent.

12. Cincinnati Bengals — Their litmus test will be against the Steelers in two weeks, but they can't overlook the Eagles on Thursday.

13. Chicago Bears — The more passes Bears receivers drop, the more the Bears drop in the power rankings.

14. Dallas Cowboys — Could they ride a wave of emotion all the way to the postseason?

15. Minnesota Vikings — They have the best one-dimensional offense in the NFL.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers — Against the Raiders, Browns, Titans and Chargers, they are 0-4. Good thing the next two games are against contenders.

17. St. Louis Rams — It's not saying much, but this is the best Rams team that St. Louis has seen in quite some time.

18. New York Jets — The fact that they may be a playoff team does not speak well to the quality of the AFC this year.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Any team that can blow a 21-10 lead with four minutes left against the Eagles is not a good bet to be playing on February 3. Or Jan. 20. Or Jan. 12, 13, 5 or 6.

20. Cleveland Browns — If the season started three weeks ago, they would be a top five team.

21. New Orleans Saints — Joe Vitt describes his team as "fragile." And the Giants did not handle with care.

22. San Diego Chargers — It might be too late to save jobs, but that was an impressive effort by Norv Turner and the Chargers Sunday.

23. Miami Dolphins — Bad news: they have dropped five of six. Good news: up next are the Jags and Bills at home.

24. Buffalo Bills — Who needs to use C.J. Spiller when you are 5-8?

25. Carolina Panthers — Cam Newton is starting to look like the 2011 version of Cam Newton. Where was this guy in September?

26. Detroit Lions — Their fifth straight loss has clinched them last place in the NFC North.

27. Philadelphia Eagles — Nick Foles has begun making his argument for why he should be the Eagles' staring QB in 2013.

28. Tennessee Titans — The Titans can write off the season to the education of Jake Locker.

29. Oakland Raiders — It might be Terrelle Pryor time in Oakland.

30. Arizona Cardinals — Fifty-eight points separated them from the Seahawks in their ninth straight loss. Change is coming in Arizona.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars — Look at the bright side, Jacksonville — only 19 days until it's the offseason.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Getting blown out by the Browns might not do much for team morale.

___

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