AP Pro32 ballot from Gosselin

AP Pro32 ballot from Gosselin
October 23, 2012, 4:26 pm
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Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Rick Gosselin of Dallas Morning News:

Week 8

RICK GOSSELIN (Dallas Morning News)

1. Atlanta Falcons - The 6-0 Falcons return from their bye looking for their fourth consecutive road victory. But they travel to Philadelphia, where they have lost six in a row. Atlanta's last victory in Philadelphia came in 1988.

2. Houston Texans - The Texans are rewarded for their franchise-best 6-1 start with a bye this week. Baltimore, Buffalo and Cincinnati also have byes in Week 8.

3. New York Giants - The Giants visit the friendly confines of Cowboys Stadium Sunday. The NFC East rivals have played in the NFL's largest stadium three times and the Giants have won every time, including the inaugural game in 2009.

4. San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers are one of only three teams ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense along with Dallas and Detroit.

5. Chicago Bears - The Bears sit atop the NFC North for one reason - they are the only team in the league that has allowed fewer than 100 points. Defense remains Chicago's calling card.

6. Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings are home Thursday night against Tampa Bay, which suits Adrian Peterson just fine. He has rushed for at least 84 yards in all four home games thus far and the Vikings have won them all. Peterson has scored all three of his TDs this season at home.

7. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens have a bye and can use the extra week to find Ray Rice in their offense. He's their most dynamic offensive weapon, but over the last four weeks his workload has decreased from 18 to 17 to 16 to nine carries. Rice needs the football for Baltimore to succeed.

8. New England Patriots - The Patriots lead all NFL defenses with 18 takeaways, including 11 fumble recoveries. Green Bay hasn't recovered a single fumble yet this season.

9. Green Bay Packers - The Packers were good on their recent three-game road trip, winning twice. But QB Aaron Rodgers was superb during that stretch with 12 TD passes and only one interception.

10. Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning returns from his bye with a rested arm and a streak of four consecutive 300-yard passing games. He's thrown for 11 TDs with just one interception during that stretch.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers - Reported discord between QB Ben Roethlisberger and OC Todd Haley doesn't translate into dysfunction. The Steelers have committed a league-low six turnovers this season.

12. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles return from their bye with a new defensive coordinator (Todd Bowles) - not that it will matter this week. Philadelphia doesn't lose coming off byes, posting a league-best 19-4 record.

13. Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks are the only team in the NFC still without a 300-yard passer this season. In fact, rookie QB Russell Wilson has been over 200 yards passing in only two of his seven starts thus far.

14. Arizona Cardinals - In their last four games, Cardinals quarterbacks have been sacked eight (Miami), nine (St. Louis), five (Buffalo) and seven (Minnesota) times. Arizona is on pace for a 90-sack season.

15. Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys are the only team in the NFC East that has not allowed a 300-yard passer yet this season.

16. San Diego Chargers - Ever wonder where the Chargers would be in the NFL pecking order if they had kept QB Drew Brees?

17. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals have posted sacks in an NFL-best 32 consecutive games.

18. Washington Redskins - The Redskins have allowed a stunning six 300-yard passers through seven games this season. Washington allowed only two such passers all of last year.

19. Miami Dolphins - Who'd have guessed at this point of the season that Miami with a rookie quarterback would rank higher on offense than the Jets and their Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow tag team? The Dolphins visit the Jets Sunday.

20. New Orleans Saints - The Saints rank last in the NFL in both defense and rushing offense. That explains why New Orleans, one of the preseason favorites, sits 2-4 and trails the NFC South-leading Falcons by four games.

21. Buffalo Bills - The Bills have their bye this week and need it - when they return in November, they play back-to-back road games against AFC favorites Houston and New England.

22. New York Jets - Seven games into the season, the Jets still haven't figured out how to maximize Tim Tebow. He remains a novelty item.

23. Indianapolis Colts - Robert Griffin III isn't the only rookie quarterback with some mobility. Andrew Luck has rushed for more touchdowns (three) than he has thrown (two) over the last three weeks for the Colts.

24. Tennessee Titans - The Tennessee defense has managed one sack or less in six of the Titans' seven games thus far.

25. St. Louis Rams - The Rams are a good football team at home with a 3-1 record. They play another home game this week - although "home" is London, England, where the Patriots will visit.

26. Detroit Lions - When Matthew Stafford struggles, the Lions struggle. He hasn't thrown more than one TD pass in any of his six games thus far.

27. Oakland Raiders - The opposition has thrown 220 passes against the Raiders this fall, but Oakland has only intercepted three of them.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Buccaneers defense has not managed a sack in the last two games. If you count the bye, Tampa Bay has now gone three weekends without sacking a quarterback.

29. Cleveland Browns - Rookie Trent Richardson leads the Browns in both rushing and receiving. But he's averaging only 3.4 yards per rush and 8.2 yards per reception.

30. Carolina Panthers - A four-game losing streak cost general manager Marty Hurney his job this week. That doesn't solve any of a plethora of problems on the field, though.

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Coach Romeo Crennel hopes to give his slumping Chiefs a jolt this week by changing quarterbacks, sitting embattled Matt Cassel and starting Brady Quinn.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars have the worst offense in the NFL - and now must play without their best player (RB Maurice Jones-Drew) because of a foot injury.

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