AP Pro32 ballot from Gosselin
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Rick Gosselin of Dallas Morning News:
RICK GOSSELIN (Dallas Morning News)
1. Houston Texans -- There have been 46 three-game road trips in the NFL since 2000. The Texans aspire to become just the sixth team to go 3-0 on one of those trips. That would entail winning this weekend in New England, though.
2. Atlanta Falcons -- The Falcons receiving corps leads the NFL with 11 individual 100-yard receiving games this season. They only had 12 all of last year.
3. Denver Broncos -- The two most balanced teams in the NFL are the Texans and Broncos. They are the only teams that rank in the top 10 in both offense and defense.
4. New England Patriots -- The Patriots have snapped the ball 883 times on offense and committed only nine turnovers. Most NFL teams commit more turnovers in a game than New England does in a month.
5. San Francisco 49ers -- The 49ers are 0-1-1 against the lowly Rams and 8-2 against everyone else.
8. Chicago Bears -- The Bears and Packers share first place in the NFC North, but Green Bay owns the tiebreaker and has an easier closing schedule than Chicago. The Bears play three of their last four on the road.
10. Cincinnati Bengals -- The Bengals defense has 15 sacks in their last four games and leads the NFL with 39.
11. New York Giants -- If the Giants are to win back-to-back NFC East titles, they're going to have to earn it these next three weeks with games against New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore. The Falcons and Ravens both lead their divisions.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers -- The Steelers led the NFL in defense in back-to-back seasons in 2007-08. Pittsburgh ranks No. 1 this season and is attempting to go back-to-back again in 2011-12.
13. Seattle Seahawks -- The Seahawks are 7-5 with games remaining against Arizona, Buffalo and St. Louis. The Rams and Cardinals are at home -- setting up a potential 10-win season for Seattle with a rookie quarterback.
14. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III is showing maturity beyond his years with just one interception in his last five games as the Redskins have pieced together a surprising run at an NFC East title.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- The Buccaneers are a defensive contradiction, ranking first in the NFL in run defense but last in pass defense. Tampa Bay has allowed eight individual 100-yard receivers.
16. Dallas Cowboys -- The Cowboys have become notoriously slow starters. They've been outscored in the first half, 68-27, over the last four games.
18. St. Louis Rams -- The Rams are looking to snap a five-game losing streak to AFC opponents this weekend in Buffalo. St. Louis is 0-3 against the AFC this season.
22. Cleveland Browns -- The 4-8 Browns have the youngest starting lineup in the NFL but that youth is finally starting to figure this league out. The Browns have won two in a row since pushing the Cowboys into overtime in Dallas.
24. Tennessee Titans -- The Titans rank 31st in the NFL with an average time of possession of barely 27 minutes.
26. San Diego Chargers -- The Chargers and Lions are tied for the most disappointing team of 2012. Both fancied themselves as Super Bowl contenders but both sit 4-8 here in December.
27. Arizona Cardinals -- Since opening the season 4-0, the Cardinals have lost eight in a row to sink to the bottom of the NFC West.
29. Philadelphia Eagles -- During this eight-game losing streak the Eagles have fired their defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and best pass rusher.
30. Oakland Raiders -- Carson Palmer has passed for 300 yards six times this season and the Raiders have lost all six games. Oakland has lost five in a row and Palmer has 300-yard games in four of them.
31. Kansas City Chiefs -- In recent years the 2-10 Chiefs have doled out $117 million in contracts to QB Matt Cassel (2009), WR Steve Breaston (2011) and CB Stanford Routt (2012). Routt's already been cut, Cassel rides the bench and Breaston is a weekly inactive.
http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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