Seahawks still on top of AP Pro32 rankings

Seahawks still on top of AP Pro32 rankings
December 10, 2013, 7:03 pm
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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


The Seattle Seahawks are still the clear favorite in leading the Associated Press power rankings, with commanding home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs there for the clinching with a couple of wins.

The San Francisco 49ers served notice, though, that they haven't disappeared. Thus, after a grind-it-out NFC West division victory by the 49ers over the Seahawks on Sunday, the top of the NFL is a little more crowded.

After two straight weeks as a unanimous first choice by the 12-member panel of media regularly covering the league, the Seahawks (11-2) received 10 first-place votes this time. The Denver Broncos (11-2) got the other two and came in second, in results released on Tuesday.

ESPN analyst Herm Edwards and reporter Jeff Legwold switched their first-place selections this week.

''Everyone needs to stop saying Peyton Manning can't play in the cold. The Broncos scored 51 points,'' Edwards wrote of Denver's lopsided win over the Tennessee Titans, the third 50-point game of the season by Manning and the Broncos.

The Seahawks lost their unmatched hold on the NFL's best record. Only 43 points separate them from the 49ers (9-4), who were fifth.

''Still may be the most balanced team the league has to offer at the moment,'' Legwold said.

The New Orleans Saints (10-3) moved back up two spots to third after a decisive victory over division foe Carolina. The New England Patriots (10-3) were fourth, following their third comeback win from a double-digit deficit in a row. Doing so again without star tight end Rob Gronkowski will be a difficult feat.

''The defense has been plagued with injuries and now Gronk is gone,'' wrote Pat Kirwan of ''The only QB in the NFL that can keep this team winning is Tom Brady. This is the biggest test of his career.''

The Panthers (9-4) were sixth and Kansas City (10-3) seventh. The Chiefs broke a three-game losing streak with a blowout win at Washington.

''Chiefs will be best No. 5 seed in the playoffs in a long time,'' said Fox consultant John Czarnecki.

Rounding out the top 10: Cincinnati Bengals (9-4), Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) and Indianapolis Colts (8-5), who were beaten 42-28 by the Bengals and have dropped three of their past five games, losing those by an average margin of more than 24 points.

''What has happened to the Colts?'' wrote NBC analyst Tony Dungy of the team he used to coach.

The Arizona Cardinals (8-5) were 11th and the Baltimore Ravens (7-6) and Chicago Bears (7-6) tied for 12th. Creeping up the rankings again were the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) who were a unanimous last-place team two months ago. They're 25th now.

''No one in the AFC is hotter,'' wrote Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. The Ravens, Broncos and Patriots have also won four of their last five games, like the Jaguars.

The Houston Texans (2-11), headed for the first pick in the draft next spring, fired coach Gary Kubiak last week and were the consensus 32nd-place team, the only padding at the bottom for the reeling Washington Redskins (3-10).

Said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune: ''Whether it's a firing or a resignation, Mike Shanahan is toast.''


AP NFL website:

Texans - Team News
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Blue got first-team reps with Arian Foster (knee) not practicing. The Texans also held out Andre Johnson (ankle) on Wednesday.
Oct 29 5:15PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps for rest purposes. He didn't suffer any setbacks last week and should be fine for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Oct 29 3:43PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) did not practice Wednesday. It's a new injury for Foster. Coming off his three-touchdown performance, it's possible the Texans are getting him some rest. Foster will be a top-three running back in Week...
Oct 29 3:18PM Read More
Zac Diles - LB
Texans signed LB Zac Diles. CB Elbert Mack was waived in a corresponding roster move. Diles' addition is a sign the Texans aren't expecting Brian Cushing (knee) back for Week 9.
Oct 28 4:04PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch in the Texans' Week 8 win over Tennessee. Graham was targeted just one time on the day, a seam shot from Ryan Fitzpatrick that predictably fell incomplete. Graham has been a very minor part of the offense, making...
Oct 26 4:53PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 55 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Johnson saw a team-high dozen targets. He was followed by Titans top CB Jason McCourty for much of the afternoon, leaving DeAndre Hopkins to work on sophomore Blidi...
Oct 26 4:44PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 95 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Hopkins was targeted 11 times compared to 12 for Andre Johnson. Hopkins picked up chunk yards on all of his grabs, and was stopped at the five-yard line on one grab where...
Oct 26 4:24PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Blue added a 22-yard catch. With the Texans clobbering the Titans late and Arian Foster having already piled up 173 yards and three touchdowns, Blue got plenty of run late...
Oct 26 4:11PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, and zero... Fitzpatrick was pretty bad for most of the day, begging to be picked off, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's legs to victory. Fitzpatrick's lone touchdown went to Foster on...
Oct 26 3:45PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-16, Week 8... Foster managed just 36 yards on his first 10 carries, but broke a 34-yard touchdown and had no trouble finding holes in the Tennessee defense from there on. Foster caught a...
Oct 26 3:21PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for Week 8 against the Titans. Clowney will play on a "pitch count," likely in pass-rushing and third-down situations. Good luck with Clowney and J.J. Watt, Zach Mettenberger. Inactive for the...
Oct 26 10:34AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) is listed as probable for Week 8. Johnson practiced in full Friday after being limited early in the week. He'll continue to play through his ankle injury. Johnson is a mid-range WR2 for Sunday's game...
Oct 24 5:19PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Johnson doesn't need full practices at this stage of his career. He's a solid WR2 for Sunday's game against the Titans.
Oct 23 4:37PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) said he'd be surprised if he doesn't play in Sunday's game... Clowney hasn't played since tearing his meniscus in Week 1. He says he plans to "push through" the soreness that's still in his knee. If the training staff lets...
Oct 23 11:41AM Read More

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