POWER RANKINGS: Perfect Panthers move to top spot
NEW YORK (AP) As the league's only unbeaten team, the Carolina Panthers are on top of the NFL standings and the latest AP Pro32 rankings.
The Panthers received all 12 first-place votes in balloting by the 12 media members who regularly cover the league on Tuesday.
The Panthers (11-0) routed the Cowboys 33-14 on Thanksgiving.
''They are on quite a roll, NBC Sports' Tony Dungy said of Carolina. ''Fast, physical and having fun.''
They'll try to improve to 12-0 when they face the Saints on Sunday. A win will give the Panthers the NFC South title.
The Patriots dropped one spot to No. 2 after falling to the Broncos 30-24 in overtime for their first loss of the season. Denver moved up to No. 4.
''The Patriots suffered their first and possibly last loss of the regular season last weekend,'' said Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.
''New England has the NFL's best December record over the last 10 years at 41-7,'' he said.
The Cardinals stayed at No. 3 after edging the 49ers 19-13 on Sunday.
''A real scare vs. Niners,'' Fox Sports' John Czarnecki said.
The Bengals fell to No. 5 after routing the Rams 31-7.
''Cincy needed that rout of St. Louis to regain its confidence,'' ESPN's Herm Edwards said.
The first-place Vikings are No. 6 after beating the Falcons.
''(Coach) Mike Zimmer has molded a defense in his image – physical and relentless,'' said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks jumped two spots to No. 7 after rallying past the Steelers and the surging Chiefs are at No. 8.
''The hottest team in the AFC has won five in a row,'' Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star Telegram said of the Chiefs, who are 6-5 this season and in second place in the AFC West.
The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers round out the top 10.
''Just when you thought the Packers had come out of their midseason wobble after a commanding road win over the Vikings, they go belly-up at home to the Bears on Thanksgiving,'' Newsday's Bob Glauber said. ''Aaron Rodgers' first six games: 15 TDs, two INTs, 6-0 record. Last five games: nine TDs, two INTs, 1-4 record.''
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
- Aaron Rodgers
- Atlanta Falcons
- Carolina Panthers
- Green Bay Packers
- Mike Zimmer
- Minnesota Vikings
- New Orleans Saints
- Russell Wilson
- Seattle Seahawks