Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio/

Week 18


1. Denver Broncos — Peyton Manning has the offense in high gear; the defense can stop the run and get after the QB. They will be very tough to beat on their home field.

2. New England Patriots — As usual Tom Brady brings his team to the finish line as a top team in the NFL. This team can score close to 30 points on any team.

3. Seattle Seahawks — Surprised the Seahawks are this high in the power poll? Ask yourself what team they can't beat. Brandon Browner returns for the playoffs to strengthen an already solid defense.

4. San Francisco 49ers — The Kaepernick experiment is working and this is one tough physical team. They want to run the ball more than pass but that may not be the case in the playoffs.

5. Atlanta Falcons — It was a surprise to see the Falcons play their regulars in a meaningless Week 16 game and lose to the Bucs. There is a lot of pressure on the Falcons that have not won a playoff game under Matt Ryan.

6. Green Bay Packers — They lost to the Vikings in Week 16, but get them at home in wild card weekend. The Packers need to shore up their run defense and pass protection.

7. Indianapolis Colts — One of the greatest stories of 2012 continues with coach Pagano back on the sidelines and Andrew Luck playing like a veteran. Their run defense isn't always a playoff unit but they continue to find ways to win.

8. Washington Redskins — The third team in the top ten with a rookie quarterback. The Redskins defense had a brilliant pressure package in passing situations to beat the Cowboys and win the NFC East.

9. Houston Texans — 1-3 in their last four games is no way to enter the playoffs. Losing home- field advantage throughout the playoffs in Week 16 makes the road to the Super Bowl a bumpy one to say the least.

10. Minnesota Vikings — Adrian Peterson ran his team into the playoffs which many thought couldn't be done. The defense is underrated and rookie kicker, Blair Walsh is a great weapon.

11. Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens need the offense to be a major force with a defense that isn't what it used to be. The Ravens are a proud group that plays round one at home and should move on to round two.

12. Cincinnati Bengals — A great pass rush and a scrappy offense put this team in the playoffs for the second straight year. Can they beat good teams on the road in the post season is a big question.

13. Chicago Bears — The Bears missed the playoffs with an ailing defense and an offense that is too much pitch and catch between Cutler and Marshall.

14. Dallas Cowboys — What a shame Tony Romo threw three interceptions in a game that now perpetuates the image of a guy that can't win the big one. I think the Cowboys are pointed in the right direction, but no one wants to hear that anymore.

15. New Orleans Saints — Sean Payton returns and the 'lost' season is over. Get some defensive help in the off season and they should be back in the top ten.

16. New York Giants — The Week 17 win was more frustrating to Giant fans who feel like the team teased them. Coughlin will have the 'G-men' back in contention next year and have no one to blame but themselves for some of the poor performances this season.

17. St. Louis Rams — A very impressive first season for Jeff Fisher as he turns this franchise around. The key elements of a solid team are in place.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers — 17 players over 30 years of age including all three quarterbacks. An offense that isn't consistent especially when it comes to running the ball. They have work to do in the off season.

19. Carolina Panthers — Ron Rivera has done a solid job building up this team on both sides of the ball. The preseason hype about playoffs was premature as Cam Newton went thru a sophomore slump early in the season. Newton was solid down the stretch.

20. San Diego Chargers — Philip Rivers is not ready for the scrap heap. He needs a better offensive line and running game. The defense is solid against the run. It will be tough for this team to close the gap on the Broncos overnight.

21. Miami Dolphins — It looks like Tannehill is good enough to build around but it isn't a lock at this point that he can be good enough to compete with Tom Brady's team next year. The Club hired the right coach in Joe Philbin. Go get Greg Jennings in the off season.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Greg Schiano got his team to play hard in the final game after a 5 game losing streak which tells me is tough guy style can work in the NFL. Josh Freeman needs to be consistent because he can be close to an elite QB someday.

23. Buffalo Bills — The Bills aren't leaving the bottom of the league until they get a dynamic QB. You can win with Fitzpatrick but you can't win 11 games with him. There are a number of good players on this team but where do you find that QB? Probably the draft if they take the right guy. Three teams in the playoffs with rookie quarterbacks this year.

24. New York Jets — The Jets have no one to blame but themselves for what happened this season. Rex deserves another chance if he can make all the football decisions.

25. Arizona Cardinals — It's tough when the best QB on the roster is a guy you picked up on the street after the other three were injured or just failed. The defense kept it together for most of the season but the offense needs a total makeover with the exception of Larry Fitzgerald.

26. Tennessee Titans — Not sure about Jake Locker as the cornerstone of this franchise but he gets another year. The defense needs new leadership and more talent.

27. Philadelphia Eagles — At least the Eagles know its Nick Foles in 2013. There's no guarantee the replacement for Andy Reid is an improvement. Six months ago this was the universal pick to win the division. Today they might be the universal pick to come in last in the division next year.

28. Detroit Lions — Call them underachievers if you want too. This seems like a team where injuries were too big a factor and just because they made the playoffs in 2011 didn't mean they automatically returned in 2012. It's not a rebuild but it needs some clear cut planning for the future.

29. Cleveland Browns — The guy that gets this head coaching job is getting a solid group of young players. The Browns almost had 100 starts from rookies in 2012. It's a shame the owner feels he has to fire all the people that started this building project.

30. Oakland Raiders — The 2012 roster purge was necessary to even lineup this year but no one should have fooled themselves into thinking it would mean immediate success. Not sure things will be any better next year.

31. Kansas City Chiefs — How does a team with two wins get three defensive players in the pro bowl? The quarterback situation needs to be fixed and fixed fast. I hope they get the right guy for the new coach.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars — MJD was always important to this team's success but not to the point they could hardly win a game without him. If Tim Tebow winds up here it doesn't mean winning will follow but the fans may conclude that in the offseason.


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