Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Alex Marvez of
Foxsports.com:

Week 12

ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)

1. Houston Texans — At some point during the season, every good team
deserves a mulligan for performing poorly against a weaker opponent.
I'm giving one to the Texans for last Sunday's 43-37 overtime victory
over lowly Jacksonville.

2. Denver Broncos — The Broncos have all but won the AFC West, but
Denver must hope losing running back Willis McGahee (leg) doesn't
disrupt the team's offensive rhythm.

3. New England Patriots — With the way both played last Sunday in New
England's 59-24 blowout of Indianapolis, it's clear Andrew Luck vs.
Tom Brady has a ways to go before becoming anywhere near the same
quality of rivalry that Brady experienced against former Colts
quarterback Peyton Manning.

4. San Francisco 49ers — Let the quarterback controversy begin after
backup Colin Kaepernick did a brilliant job replacing the injured Alex
Smith (concussion) in Monday night's 32-7 waxing of Chicago.

5. Atlanta Falcons — Mulligan No. 2 goes to the Falcons for winning
despite some grotesque stretches during 23-19 victory over Arizona.

6. Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens' offense didn't play well enough to
win in Pittsburgh. No matter. The defense and special-teams carried
the day.

7. Green Bay Packers — Usually, it's Detroit that needs last-minute
heroics to win. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers turned the tables by
leading the late game-winning drive in last week's 24-20 road victory.

8. Seattle Seahawks — It's a long trip to South Florida, but the
Seahawks may be catching slumping Miami at just the right time.

9. New York Giants — The Giants must hope the rest and coaching
adjustments that come during a bye week help end a two-game losing
streak.

10. Chicago Bears — The Bears are in trouble until quarterback Jay
Cutler recovers from his concussion. Even then, can his offensive line
keep Cutler from getting hurt again?

11. Pittsburgh Steelers — Anyone have Bubby Brister's telephone
number? At the rate Pittsburgh is losing quarterbacks, the Steelers
need all the help they can get.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who caught
the touchdown and 2-point conversion that sent Sunday's 27-21 victory
over Carolina into overtime, is proving worth every penny of the
five-year, $55.56 million contract he signed as a free agent.

13. New Orleans Saints — Maybe — just maybe — the Saints can become
the second team in NFL history to start 0-4 and still reach the
playoffs.

14. Cincinnati Bengals — A strong argument can be made that wide
receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins are the best
players at their respective positions in the AFC.

15. Dallas Cowboys — The Cowboys don't get a mulligan for needing
overtime to defeat Cleveland. Struggling in games that shouldn't be so
close is par for the course in Dallas.

16. Indianapolis Colts — Coming off a devastating loss to New England,
how the Colts respond Sunday against Buffalo will say a lot about
whether this is a bona fide playoff contender.

17. Minnesota Vikings — How the Vikings fare the next three weeks
against Chicago (twice) and Green Bay will determine Minnesota's
postseason viability.

18. Detroit Lions — At 4-6, Detroit's playoff hopes are on life
support. The plug will be pulled if the Lions don't win at home
Thursday against, gulp, Houston.

19. Buffalo Bills — A dominating performance against Miami should go a
long way toward boosting the confidence of Dave Wannstedt's
beleaguered defense.

20. New York Jets — Following a week of media-generated turmoil, a
27-13 road win over St. Louis proved New York hasn't given up on the
season just yet.

21. San Diego Chargers — Poor blocking + Philip Rivers turnovers = No
playoffs.

22. Washington Redskins — Nothing like Philadelphia's discombobulated
defense to help Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III get back on
track after a two-game slump.

23. Tennessee Titans — Maybe team owner Bud Adams won't have to fire
anyone. The Titans (4-6) will be back in the playoff hunt with a
victory Sunday against Jacksonville.

24. Miami Dolphins — With the lack of talent on offense and at
cornerback being exposed during a two-game losing streak, the heat is
back on general manager Jeff Ireland for his offseason personnel
decisions.

25. Arizona Cardinals — Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley Whoever
is under center for the Cardinals can't stop the bleeding during a
six-game losing streak.

26. St. Louis Rams — After a gritty 24-24 tie at San Francisco, it's
hard to believe this was the same Rams team that was manhandled at
home against the Jets.

27. Philadelphia Eagles — So long, Andy Reid.

28. Carolina Panthers — Adieu, Ron Rivera.

29. Cleveland Browns — A heartbreaking overtime loss to Dallas
guarantees Cleveland its ninth non-winning season in 10 years.

30. Oakland Raiders — The Raiders have surrendered an average of 45
points and 439 yards over the past three losses.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars — Chad Henne's surprising success against
Houston can also be considered a damning indictment of Blaine
Gabbert's viability as a franchise quarterback.

32. Kansas City Chiefs — Any momentum generated from a gutsy
performance in a Monday night loss at Pittsburgh was squandered by a
putrid showing in a 28-6 loss to Cincinnati.

___

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