Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Ira Kaufman of Tampa Tribune:
IRA KAUFMAN (Tampa Tribune)
- Denver Broncos - The AFC's playoff path runs through Peyton's Place, where GPS won't help you proceed.
- Seattle Seahawks - Sunday's difference? Russell Wilson has a better defense behind him than Robert Griffin III.
- San Francisco 49ers - Very quietly, WR Michael Crabtree is on the brink of elite status.
- New England Patriots - Outscored opponents by an average margin of 14 points per game. Ho hum.
- Atlanta Falcons - Few franchises have entered the postseason with more to prove.
- Green Bay Packers - Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood is dangerous this time of the year.
- Houston Texans - Can they regain the championship glow that faded in the winter chill?
- Cincinnati Bengals - They have the pass rush to force Matt Schaub into mistakes.
- Baltimore Ravens - Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are steeling themselves for one last roundup.
- Washington Redskins - Led by two impact rookies, the NFL's No. 5 offense is rolling downhill.
- Minnesota Vikings - It will be challenging for Christian Ponder to keep his cool at frosty Lambeau.
- Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to win 11 games despite allowing 30 more points than they scored.
- Chicago Bears - The Bears wasted a lot of good defense, so Lovie Smith paid the ultimate NFL price.
- New York Giants - Speaking of good defense, the Giants don't have much to say.
- Dallas Cowboys - Everything's bigger in Texas, especially the annual late-season disappointment.
- New Orleans Saints - After a year off for bad behavior, Sean Payton returns to torment NFC defenses.
- Pittsburgh Steelers - The NFL's No. 1 defense is home for the holidays, thanks to 30 giveaways.
- St. Louis Rams - Made some strides within the division in Jeff Fisher's first season.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman's development is the key for the Bucs to take the next step.
- Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton and Co. finished strong, but more playmakers are needed.
- San Diego Chargers - How could a team with Philip Rivers and Norv Turner finish 31st on offense?
- Miami Dolphins - If Ryan Tannehill doesn't take a big leap forward, the Fins are going nowhere.
- Buffalo Bills - All that dough for Ryan Fitzpatrick and not much to show for it.
- Tennessee Titans - The Titans used to be known for aggressive, physical defense. Not anymore.
- New York Jets - With this defense, they don't need a franchise quarterback just a reliable one.
- Cleveland Browns - Another last-place finish triggered a rather thorough housecleaning.
- Arizona Cardinals - Ask Ken Whisenhunt how important a QB is to an NFL team's success.
- Detroit Lions - That 0-6 division record could have been enough to get Jim Schwartz canned.
- Philadelphia Eagles - The dream (team) is no more. Wake up, Philly fans, and smell the rebuilding plan.
- Oakland Raiders - Pride and poise are in short supply in the East Bay, along with wins.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - With a new owner calling the shots, the next move could be a call to Mr. Tebow.
- Kansas City Chiefs - Some stats don't lie. The Chiefs threw eight TD passes all season. That's correct, eight.
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