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Saturday, Dec 03, 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ira Kaufman's AP Pro32 ballot for Nov. 21

This season, The Associated Press launched a weekly poll focused on NFL teams. Called AP Pro32, the AP will rank each of the NFL's 32 teams based on balloting from a panel of national media members who cover the league and its teams. The poll will be similar to the AP Top 25, the 75-year-old poll that ranks the nation's top college football teams. The Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman is among the voters. Here is his ballot for this week. 1. Houston: Led by J.J. Watt, this swarming defense will gobble up Matt Stafford on Thanksgiving. 2. Atlanta: On an afternoon he'd like to forget, Matty Ice remained a cool engineer. 3. San Francisco: Don't forget about Aldon Smith when considering NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
4. Baltimore: They're built in John Harbaugh's image - tough, focused and relentless. 5. Green Bay: Plenty of issues abound, but Aaron Rodgers is having another MVP season. 6. Denver: It's all over in the AFC West as Peyton Manning forges a new beginning. 7. New England: They'll miss Rob Gronkowski, but Aaron Hernandez isn't a bad substitute. 8. Chicago: The offense must have missed that charter flight to San Francisco. 9. New York Giants: Expect a renewed commitment from Coughlin's crew after the bye week. 10. Pittsburgh: They're suddenly in full scramble mode for an AFC wild-card slot. 11. Seattle: Pete Carroll's group plays some serious defense up in the Pacific Northwest. 12. New Orleans: From 0-4 to 5-5, even with a defense that can't stop anyone. 13. Tampa Bay: A victory against Atlanta would mark their first 5-game winning streak in a decade. 14. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck just saw how it's done by the master, Tom Brady. 15. Minnesota: Still much to prove on the road to the NFC's No. 6 playoff seed. 16. Cincinnati: With a prolonged October funk behind them, they're on the rise. 17. Dallas: Can Dez Bryant play up to his capabilities down the stretch? The jury's out. 18. San Diego: Philip Rivers keeps forcing the issue and it's not a pretty sight. 19. Detroit: That 0-4 mark in the division tells you all you need to know. 20. New York Jets: A little momentum and confidence as the Brady Bunch comes to town. 21. Washington: Robert Griffin III wasn't perfect against Philly, but he came awfully close. 22. Arizona: That torrid September start turned out to be a desert mirage. 23. Tennessee: Give Chris Johnson credit, he's back among the NFL's elite runners. 24. Buffalo: One of these decades, the Bills will return to relevancy. 25. Miami: They still haven't gotten over that loss to Indy. Snap out of it. 26. St. Louis: Jeff Fisher thought he'd be a little further along at this juncture. 27. Philadelphia: Only the Chiefs have scored fewer points … that's sad company. 28. Cleveland: Once again, Browns fans turn their attention to the NFL draft. 29. Carolina: Things are so bad, DE Charles Johnson is issuing apologies on Twitter. 30. Jacksonville: How they scored 37 points at Houston is one of the NFL's great mysteries. 31. Oakland: The resurgent Bengals might drop 50 on these frauds. 32. Kansas City: Winless at home, winless in the AFC. You get the picture.