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AP Pro32 ballot from Marvez

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Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com:

Week 18

ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)

1. Denver Broncos - Eleven straight victories and Houston's late-season collapse brought the Broncos the AFC's top playoff seed.

2. Atlanta Falcons - As long as defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and cornerback Dunta Robinson (concussion) are OK for the second round of the playoffs, playing starters throughout a loss to Tampa Bay didn't backfire on Falcons coach Mike Smith.

3. San Francisco 49ers - With two wide receivers on injured reserve, Michael Crabtree (172 yards receiving and two touchdowns against Arizona) couldn't have picked a better time to play the best football of his four-year NFL career.

4. New England Patriots - The Patriots took a big step toward a Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning rematch in the AFC championship game by securing the conference's No. 2 playoff seed.

5. Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks didn't win the NFC West, but they played as well as any division leader in December.

6. Green Bay Packers - If the Packers can't figure out how to stop Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson they could be one-and-done in the playoffs.

7. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III (knee) didn't look 100 percent healthy against Dallas, but the legs of another Redskins rookie were working just fine. A 200-yard, three touchdown rushing performance by Alfred Morris against Dallas helped Washington win its first NFC East title since 1999.

8. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts had two reasons to celebrate Sunday - the return of head coach Chuck Pagano (leukemia) to the sideline and an 11th victory by soundly defeating AFC South rival Houston.

9. Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson finished 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, but leading Minnesota into the playoffs is a nice consolation prize.

10. Houston Texans - So much for the first-round playoff bye that seemed like a no-brainer a month ago. The swoon continued for the Texans with three losses in the final four regular-season games.

11. Baltimore Ravens - With the AFC's No. 4 playoff seed considered a certainty, the Ravens were able to give starters some much-needed rest during a 23-17 loss at Cincinnati.

12. Cincinnati Bengals - The next step for the Bengals - wining a playoff game for the first time since 1990.

13. Chicago Bears - With the Bears missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, not even a 10-6 record was enough to save head coach Lovie Smith's job.

14. New York Giants - The December rally never came.

15. Dallas Cowboys - Will any other quarterback have as long an offseason as Tony Romo following his three-interception performance against Washington?

16. Pittsburgh Steelers - A season-ending win over Cleveland did nothing to quell the disappointment that came with missing the playoffs for only the second time since 2007.

17. Carolina Panthers - Ron Rivera should know soon enough whether a four-game win streak to end the season was enough to keep his head coaching position in 2013.

18. St. Louis Rams - If the Rams can add some offensive talent in the offseason, this has the makings of a playoff team in 2013.

19. New Orleans Saints - Head coach Sean Payton can't return soon enough.

20. Miami Dolphins - A surprisingly decent season ended on a down note with a 28-0 shutout loss at New England.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The top offseason priority for Tampa Bay will be fixing a pass defense that narrowly avoided surrendering the most yards in NFL history.

22. San Diego Chargers - Three straight years without a playoff appearance was too much for ousted head coach Norv Turner and A.J. Smith to overcome.

23. New York Jets - Rex Ryan gets one more season to fix the mess he and fired general manager Mike Tannebuam created.

24. Buffalo Bills - The Bills will be hiring their sixth different head coach in 14 seasons after the firing of Chan Gailey.

25. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker has one more season to prove he's a bona fide franchise quarterback.

26. Cleveland Browns - Sitting-duck head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert Jr. were mercifully relieved of their duties by Cleveland's new regime after finishing 5-11.

27. Arizona Cardinals - A 1-11 end to the season shows how far Arizona has fallen since the 2008 Cardinals reached the Super Bowl.

28. Oakland Raiders - Head coach Dennis Allen fired his offensive and special-teams coordinators (Greg Knapp, Steve Hoffman) after just one season. If the Raiders don't show marked improvement in 2013, Allen will be the next one shown the door.

29. Detroit Lions - No 2011 playoff team had a bigger fall from grace than the Lions.

30. Philadelphia Eagles - Although his firing was inevitable, it will initially be strange watching the Eagles in 2013 and not seeing Andy Reid on the sideline.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - The firing of general manager Gene Smith means Mike Mularkey may not get another season as head coach after finishing 2-14.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - On the bright side, at least all that losing means Kansas City has the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.

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Online:

http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tagged: Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Seahawks, Redskins, Adrian Peterson, Mike Smith, Falcons, Broncos

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