Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com:
ALEX MARVEZ (Foxsports.com)
- Houston Texans - The J.J. Watt-led defense got back on track in last Sunday's 24-10 win at Tennessee.
- New England Patriots - The outcome of upcoming home games against Houston and San Francisco will largely determine whether the Patriots can land a first-round playoff bye.
- Denver Broncos - Yeah, that Peyton Manning signing worked out all right. The Broncos have already clinched the AFC West.
- Atlanta Falcons - Thanks to San Francisco's upset loss to St. Louis, the Falcons are guaranteed home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with two more victories in their final four games.
- San Francisco 49ers - What is it with the St. Louis Rams? The 49ers are 0-1-1 against that mediocre franchise and 8-2 versus the rest of the league.
- Baltimore Ravens - With subpar performances in two games against Pittsburgh this season, Joe Flacco needs to get his act together if the Ravens face the Steelers again in the playoffs.
- New York Giants - Penalties, a bad field-goal snap and the defense's inability to stop Washington's read-option offense were the main reasons for New York's 17-16 road loss to the Redskins.
- Chicago Bears - Speaking of the inability to stop the read-option, that's what doomed the Bears in last Sunday's overtime defeat against Seattle.
- Green Bay Packers - Minnesota's Adrian Peterson deserved the spotlight for a 210-yard effort, but let's not forget Green Bay rushed for 152 yards in last Sunday's 23-14 win.
- Indianapolis Colts - The Colts continue to squeak past the opposition, winning for the seventh time by seven points or less in last Sunday's 35-33 comeback over Detroit.
- Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals are getting more dangerous offensively now that the rushing attack is getting on track. BenJarvus Green-Ellis enjoyed his third consecutive 100-yard outing in last Sunday's 20-13 win over San Diego.
- Seattle Seahawks - If he continues to play like in Sunday's 23-17 overtime win over Chicago, Seattle's Russell Wilson should draw strong consideration with fellow quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) and Robert Griffin III (Washington) for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
- Washington Redskins - The last time the Redskins made the playoffs came after a strong finish to the 2007 season. History may be set to repeat itself based upon Washington's performance in Monday night's 17-16 win over the New York Giants.
- Pittsburgh Steelers - A gritty 23-20 win in Baltimore ultimately could be remembered as the victory that propelled the Steelers into the playoffs.
- Dallas Cowboys - As reinforced by a 38-33 victory over Philadelphia, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo deserves a spot in the playoffs with the way he's performing. The same can't be said about some of his struggling teammates (I'm looking at you, Doug Free).
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Note to Bucs head coach Greg Schiano: There is such a thing as karma. Remember that each time you attack the victory formation like at the end of last Sunday's 31-23 loss to Denver.
- Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson looks like a lock to win another NFL rushing title. But with the way the rest of Minnesota's offense is playing, he'll have to enjoy the honor at home during the playoffs.
- New Orleans Saints - That really wasn't Drew Brees forcing passes, mismanaging the clock and throwing five interceptions against Atlanta, was it?
- St. Louis Rams - If they could only play San Francisco every week, the Rams (5-6-1) might be in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. But with three road games remaining, a postseason berth seems unlikely.
- Buffalo Bills - The defense is moving toward respectability by limiting the past three opponents to 20 points or less, including Jacksonville in last Sunday's 34-18 win.
- Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill's roller-coaster rookie season took a downward turn with his erratic passing in last Sunday's 23-16 loss to New England.
- Detroit Lions - The Lions were one of the NFL's best fourth-quarter teams at the midway point of the season. Following last Sunday's 38-33 home defeat against Indianapolis, Detroit (4-8) has now become the first NFL team in at least 30 seasons to lose three straight games after taking a lead into the final two minutes.
- New York Jets - A 7-6 victory over Arizona was a perfect embodiment of just how ugly this season has become for the Jets (5-7).
- Cleveland Browns - Pat Shurmur's job as head coach may be safe if Cleveland keeps showing improvement. The Browns (4-8) would string together their first three-game winning streak since the end of 2009 with a victory Sunday against Kansas City.
- San Diego Chargers - A piece of advice for Chargers fans: Watch only the first three quarters of every game because the fourth will leave you heartbroken. A 20-13 loss to Cincinnati was the latest example.
- Tennessee Titans - Firing offensive coordinator Chris Palmer didn't pay immediate dividends in last Sunday's 24-10 loss to Houston. If the Titans don't finish strong, expect some other members of the Titans staff to get booted after the season as well.
- Arizona Cardinals - With the NFL's most pathetic offense, the Cardinals have a legitimate shot at becoming the first team in league history to start 4-0 and finish 4-12.
- Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton is getting back on track. The rest of his team isn't.
- Philadelphia Eagles - By the time this miserable season is over, head coach Andy Reid may have no more assistants left to fire.
- Oakland Raiders - Can things get worse in Oakland after a five-game losing streak? You bet - Denver (9-3) comes to the Bay Area for a Thursday night matchup.
- Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs responded valiantly in the face of tragedy in last Sunday's 27-21 win over Carolina.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Now that quarterback Blaine Gabbert is on injured reserve, let's turn the blame for this 2-10 season on a horrendous defense that has generated a league-low 13 sacks and allowed Buffalo to rush for 232 yards in last Sunday's 34-18 loss.
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