AP Power Rankings: Cards move to top spot in AP Pro32
Dec. 30, 2015
NEW YORK (AP) — There's a new No. 1 in the AP Pro 32 power rankings.
The Arizona Cardinals moved to the top spot on Tuesday, replacing Carolina after the Panthers lost for the first time this season.
The Cardinals received 10 of the 12 first-place votes in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
"The Cardinals are peaking at the right time, and they've still got a shot at the No. 1 seed (in the NFC)," Newsday's Bob Glauber said.
"Carson Palmer is very much in the conversation for MVP honors, as well as Comeback Player of the Year," he said.
The Panthers, who lost to the Falcons on Sunday, received the other two first-place votes and dropped to No. 2. The Panthers can still clinch the top seed in the NFC with a win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"No longer perfect, but perfectly capable of nailing down the NFC's No. 1 seed," said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
Despite losing in overtime to the Jets, the Patriots remained No. 3. New England coach Bill Belichick made the decision to kick off to start the overtime and the Jets drove down the field and got the win on Ryan Fitzpatrick's 6-yard TD pass to Eric Decker.
"It's saying something when Bill Belichick doesn't have enough faith in his offense to take the first possession in overtime," Glauber said. "The decision backfires as the Patriots' defense allows Ryan Fitzpatrick to go 80 yards for the winning touchdown on the Jets' opening possession of OT."
The Broncos surged five spots to No. 4 after Monday night's overtime win that clinched a playoff spot.
The Chiefs moved up two spots to No. 5 after extending their winning streak to nine in a row with a 17-13 victory over Cleveland.
The Bengals slipped a spot to No. 6 after missing a chance to clinch a first-round bye with their loss to the Broncos.
"AJ McCarron can get Cincinnati to the playoffs but the Bengals are going to need Andy Dalton when they get there if they have any hope of extending their season into February," said Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.
The Jets jumped three spots to No. 7 after beating New England and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Buffalo and former coach Rex Ryan on Sunday.
"The Jets can go far with those receivers and that defense," ESPN's Herm Edwards said.
Seattle fell four spots to No. 8 after losing at home to the Rams.
The Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay, who will meet at Lambeau Field to close out the regular season and decide the NFC North title, are No. 9 and 10 respectively.
"Can they do it in Lambeau?" NBC's Tony Dungy asked of the Vikings who lost 30-13 to Green Bay in the first meeting last month.
The Tennessee Titans remain 32nd going into the final week of the regular season.
"Tons of rebuilding to do," Fox Sports' John Czarnecki said of the 3-12 Titans who could clinch the No. 1 pick in the draft with a loss at Indy.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL