AP Pro32 ballot from Kirwan
Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Pat Kirwan of
SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com:
PAT KIRWAN (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com)
1. Atlanta Falcons – No team is more scrutinized than the
Falcons. Until they win a few playoff games I could put them down
at No. 6 and no one would say a thing. They have 13 wins and
deserve regular season recognition.
2. Denver Broncos – As expected the Broncos have become a
scoring machine that also has good pass rushers. Still a chance
they are the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
3. New England Patriots – Tom Brady covers up a number of issues
on this roster and this team can beat anyone even on the road.
4. Seattle Seahawks – Nobody wants to play this team after
scoring 150 points in three games. The probable loss of Richard
Sherman will have an effect, but for now they are riding high.
5. Houston Texans – How can a team with home field advantage
throughout the playoffs lose a game at home to Minnesota? They did
and that makes them beatable, even in Houston.
6. Green Bay Packers – The Packers are very dangerous right now
and getting healthy at the right time. Aaron Rodgers and his
receiving weapons are too much to handle if the line can protect
7. Baltimore Ravens – With all their injuries and doubters the
Ravens came out and made a statement in the beating they put on the
8. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers looked less than invincible
in the beating Seattle put on them. They probably won’t go back to
Alex Smith, but you just wonder if his experience would help right
9. Indianapolis Colts – They are the surprise story of 2012.
There wasn’t a football person alive in August that attached
playoffs to the Colts. Can they win on the road? We’ll find
10. Cincinnati Bengals – Finally an Andy Dalton-led win over the
Steelers. The Bengals defense is dangerous with that pass rush as
11. Washington Redskins – RG3 is turning into a legend in his
rookie season and the rest of the team is reminding me of days gone
by in the nation’s capital. Big game against the Cowboys.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Week in and week out it’s the Adrian
Peterson watch instead of the Viking playoff watch. This team is
pretty good and off the radar screen.
13. Chicago Bears – Nothing like a game against the Cardinals to
stop the bleeding. Now can they beat the Lions on the road?
14. Dallas Cowboys – A road trip to Washington will decide their
fate. There’s a lot to like about the Cowboys, but they just
couldn’t close out the Saints this week.
15. New Orleans Saints – The most dangerous team not going to
the playoffs. As Bill Cowher said to me Sunday, ‘I wouldn’t want to
play them right now.’ Too bad their last game isn’t against a
playoff contender so they could play the spoiler.
16. New York Giants – A major disappointment! Enough said until
17. St. Louis Rams – Jeff Fisher has done a solid job turning
things around at the Rams. They could finish with a winning record
and that is saying something after last year.
18. Miami Dolphins – The Fish are in a rebuilding process that
is going to take time. Ryan Tannehill looked better this week and
needs a strong finish in New England to convince Dolphin fans he’s
the guy to build around.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers – Steelers’ story is like the Giants
story a disappointment!
20. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton has come out of his sophomore
slump, but there is still a lot of work to do. It would be a
mistake to change the coaching staff at this point.
21. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are in the conversation
when the term underachiever is used. That being said, I could make
the case the talent is overrated and there is a rebuilding process
on the horizon.
22. New York Jets – The quarterback decisions destroyed what Rex
Ryan had built up over three years. Sanchez is the QB for 2013 so
get him some help.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Optimism ran high a month ago that
this was a playoff team, but they faded down the stretch with five
straight loses. Coach Schiano has more work to do than he
24. Cleveland Browns – By my count the Browns have 82 starts by
rookies and they won five games and played hard every week. That
probably isn’t enough for the front office, but two years from now
we may find out keeping Shurmur was the right thing to do.
25. Buffalo Bills – The quarterback story leads the way in
describing why this team only has five wins, but there’s more to it
than that with the defense and the offensive line.
26. Arizona Cardinals – No quarterback, no chance. Kevin Kolb
has four of the five wins and this team beat New England in
Foxborough, which seems like a lifetime ago. Don’t get rid of Kolb
until you find someone better and that may be more difficult than
people believe it will be.
27. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are playing a lot of kids
and there are positive signs for the future, but don’t think the
next coach is going to be an automatic upgrade from Andy Reid.
28. Detroit Lions – It’s natural for players and teams to think
we will start from where we left off. Every year it really is start
at zero and climb the same mountain. I’m not so sure all the Lion
players knew that was the case.
29. Tennessee Titans – Firing offensive coordinator Chris Palmer
didn’t accomplish anything except take the players off the hook. A
55-7 loss isn’t Palmer’s fault.
30. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders came into the season with a
paper thin roster because of salary cap issues and injuries totally
disabled this team that was mediocre at full strength.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars – No MJD, no chance. Forty-seven points
scored in the last four games.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – The season from hell is almost over.
What a shame for a team I thought could be a wild card back at the
start of the season.
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