Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ira Kaufman's AP Pro32 ballot
NFL writer Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune ranks the league's teams for The Associated Press' weekly NFL rankings. Here is his Week 1 ballot: 1. Patriots; As long as Belichick and Brady are around, 12 wins and legitimate Super Bowl aspirations will follow. 2. Packers; Perhaps shifting Charles Woodson to safety can energize a secondary that was burned repeatedly last fall. 3. Texans; With a weak schedule and a strong roster, there's no reason the Texans shouldn't contend for the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed.4. 49ers; When you can run and play defense like Jim Harbaugh's marauders, expectations should run rampant from San Jose to Sausalito. 5. Giants; Five prime-time games and a killer closing slate will test the resolve of the Super Bowl champs. 6. Steelers; Yes, they are getting a little creaky on defense, but Ben Roethlisberger is 80-33 and you simply can't run on these guys. 7. Ravens; Ray Lewis & Co. have every intention of making Peyton Manning's Denver debut Sunday evening a Rocky Mountain Low. 8. Cowboys; Jerry Jones may have faith in Jason Garrett, but Dallas fans will be clamoring for Jon Gruden if the Cowboys fade once again in December. 9. Broncos; John Fox proved in Carolina he knows how to win with a smart QB and a punishing ground game. He's about to prove it again. 10. Falcons; Coming off an impressive preseason, Matt Ryan needs to recapture his form as one of the league's premier young QBs. 11. Eagles; Philly looks like a determined group eager to atone for a sorry season, but Michael Vick is a PUP list waiting to happen. 12. Bears; Jay Cutler has some shiny new weapons scattered in the Windy City as Chicago takes aim on Green Bay in the NFC North. 13. Bengals; One more playoff season in the Queen City and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will be a hot coaching candidate in 2013. 14. Titans; Chris Johnson is back to his old tricks in the backfield and Tennessee's defense is better than advertised. 15. Lions; Jim Schwartz can only hope the Lions show more discipline on fall Sundays than they do off the field. 16. Jets; Rex Ryan is still yapping, but it won't be long before one of the NFL's better defenses is giving a moribund attack the silent treatment. 17. Chargers; Memo to Turner: How can you be an NFL head coach for 221 regular-season games and still have so much to prove? 18. Panthers; This defense will be significantly improved, easing the burden on Cam Newton. 19. Saints; Road games vs. the Packers, Broncos and Giants won't help the cause as Drew Brees tries to hold things together in the Crescent City. 20. Seahawks; Tucked away in the upper left corner of the NFL map, Pete Carroll is quietly building a winner. 21. Redskins; Reunited with Raheem Morris, talented safety Tanard Jackson did it again – a third drug-related suspension. 22. Chiefs; Despite boasting some very talented athletes, KC will be undermined by draft reaches and erratic play under center. 23. Bills; Buffalo made some dramatic strides on offense in 2011. This year, it's the defense's turn to rise. 24. Cardinals; John Skelton gets his opportunity to bloom in the desert while a talented defensive front should provide some heat. 25. Bucs; Rookie RB Doug Martin and WR Vincent Jackson will play prominent roles for an offense that looks promising on paper. 26. Raiders; Same old, same old. The Pride & Poise gang will spring a few upsets along the way and beat themselves in some other games before settling in at the corner of 6th and 10th. 27. Rams; With Jeff Fisher calling the shots, the Rams will be fundamentally sound and excel on special teams. 28. Vikings; Minnesota lost eight games by six points or less last season and the Vikes will win their share of those close ones if Adrian Peterson returns to greatness. 29. Colts; Besides all that raw talent, Andrew Luck has the perfect demeanor to grow with this football team. 30. Dolphins; Poor little rich owner Stephen Ross ... he craves a winner desperately, but has no idea how to make it happen. 31. Browns; Cleveland hasn't posted a winning mark on the road since 2002 and this offense isn't exactly brimming with playmakers. 32. Jaguars; If the Jags avoid home blackouts this fall, the entire marketing department should earn a two-week vacation to Hawaii.