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AP Pro32 ballot from Kaufman

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Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Ira Kaufman of Tampa Tribune:

Week 18

IRA KAUFMAN (Tampa Tribune)

1. Denver Broncos - The AFC's playoff path runs through Peyton's Place, where GPS won't help you proceed.

2. Seattle Seahawks - Sunday's difference? Russell Wilson has a better defense behind him than Robert Griffin III.

3. San Francisco 49ers - Very quietly, WR Michael Crabtree is on the brink of elite status.

4. New England Patriots - Outscored opponents by an average margin of 14 points per game. Ho hum.

5. Atlanta Falcons - Few franchises have entered the postseason with more to prove.

6. Green Bay Packers - Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood is dangerous this time of the year.

7. Houston Texans - Can they regain the championship glow that faded in the winter chill?

8. Cincinnati Bengals - They have the pass rush to force Matt Schaub into mistakes.

9. Baltimore Ravens - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are steeling themselves for one last roundup.

10. Washington Redskins - Led by two impact rookies, the NFL's No. 5 offense is rolling downhill.

11. Minnesota Vikings - It will be challenging for Christian Ponder to keep his cool at frosty Lambeau.

12. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to win 11 games despite allowing 30 more points than they scored.

13. Chicago Bears - The Bears wasted a lot of good defense, so Lovie Smith paid the ultimate NFL price.

14. New York Giants - Speaking of good defense, the Giants don't have much to say.

15. Dallas Cowboys - Everything's bigger in Texas, especially the annual late-season disappointment.

16. New Orleans Saints - After a year off for bad behavior, Sean Payton returns to torment NFC defenses.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers - The NFL's No. 1 defense is home for the holidays, thanks to 30 giveaways.

18. St. Louis Rams - Made some strides within the division in Jeff Fisher's first season.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman's development is the key for the Bucs to take the next step.

20. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton and Co. finished strong, but more playmakers are needed.

21. San Diego Chargers - How could a team with Philip Rivers and Norv Turner finish 31st on offense?

22. Miami Dolphins - If Ryan Tannehill doesn't take a big leap forward, the Fins are going nowhere.

23. Buffalo Bills - All that dough for Ryan Fitzpatrick and not much to show for it.

24. Tennessee Titans - The Titans used to be known for aggressive, physical defense. Not anymore.

25. New York Jets - With this defense, they don't need a franchise quarterback just a reliable one.

26. Cleveland Browns - Another last-place finish triggered a rather thorough housecleaning.

27. Arizona Cardinals - Ask Ken Whisenhunt how important a QB is to an NFL team's success.

28. Detroit Lions - That 0-6 division record could have been enough to get Jim Schwartz canned.

29. Philadelphia Eagles - The dream (team) is no more. Wake up, Philly fans, and smell the rebuilding plan.

30. Oakland Raiders - Pride and poise are in short supply in the East Bay, along with wins.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - With a new owner calling the shots, the next move could be a call to Mr. Tebow.

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Some stats don't lie. The Chiefs threw eight TD passes all season. That's correct, eight.

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Online:

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

Tagged: Bills, Dolphins, Redskins, Ravens, Ed Reed

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