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 -- In their last four games, no team has come within 13 points of them, and in their 11 game win streak they have only trailed in the fourth quarter once.
5. New England Patriots -- They made an NFL record 444 first downs and head into the playoffs with the NFL's most dangerous offense.
7. Atlanta Falcons -- Bad way to head into the playoffs: they lost their last game and possibly lost their top cornerback and top pass rusher.
8. Washington Redskins -- They have now avoided committing a turnover in six games this year, which speaks well to their playoff chances.
10. Houston Texans -- They lost three of their last five and no longer look like the same team that won 10 of their first 11.
12. Cincinnati Bengals -- They will need to pick it up offensively to beat the Texans. They have scored just one offensive touchdown in their last eight quarters.
13. Chicago Bears -- Ten wins got four other teams in the playoffs, and usually gets any team in, but the Bears lost the wrong games and missed the cut.
14. New York Giants -- They lost five of their last eight and became the 14th Super Bowl winner to fail to make it to the playoffs.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- This is what you have to love about the Steelers-they underachieved and missed the playoffs but are apparently not making major changes. Only in Pittsburgh.
17. St. Louis Rams -- It will be a surprise if this team doesn't finish next season's power rankings quite a bit higher than 17th.
18. Carolina Panthers -- Ron Rivera and the coaching staff did a heck of a job down the stretch to turn around the Panthers and win five of their last six.
19. New Orleans Saints -- They had their biggest win of the year over the weekend-re-signing head coach Sean Payton.
21. San Diego Chargers -- A.J. Smith and Norv Turner had some good moments in San Diego. They just didn't have enough of them lately.
24. Buffalo Bills -- They have had one winning season in their last 13, and everything wasn't Chan Gailey's fault.
26. Cleveland Browns -- If history repeats itself, the Browns will hold a press conference to announce a new coach in a few weeks. Then they will do it again in two years. And again in two years. And again in two years.
27. Arizona Cardinals -- Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt made some solid contributions to the Cardinals, but they couldn't fix the quarterback position in recent years.
28. Philadelphia Eagles -- It's a pretty safe bet the Eagles' next coach will fail to match Andy Reid's record in Philly.
29. Oakland Raiders -- It must be a new era in Oakland if the head coach isn't getting fired.
30. Detroit Lions -- From 10-6 to 4-12, the Lions were one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL. As a result, look for quite a bit of roster upheaval.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Gene Smith was the fall guy, and the Shad Khan era really begins now.
32. Kansas City Chiefs -- They had three more Pro Bowlers than victories, so Clark Hunt said adios to Romeo Crennel.
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