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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Ira Kaufman’s Week 14 NFL power rankings

Each week, 12 national media members - including the Tribune’s Ira Kaufman - rank teams in what is known as The Associated Press Pro32 power rankings. Here is Kaufman’s ballot.

1. Seattle - Nothing beats a three-game cushion atop the NFC West heading into Candlestick.

2. Denver - John Fox’s extended bye week figures to end with a lopsided win vs. the Titans.

3. Carolina - By Sunday night in New Orleans, we’ll know a lot more about this swarming defense.

4. New Orleans - The jet-lagged Saints just showed us how dispiriting an NFL road trip can be

5. New England - Ho-hum. They can wrap up another division title Sunday with a win and some help.

6. San Francisco - The return of Michael Crabtree could pay huge dividends down the stretch.

7. Kansas City - This reeling defense needs to steady itself before the playoffs begin.

8. Cincinnati - Looking to go 6-0 at home by throttling the struggling Colts.

9. Detroit - When the Lions don’t beat themselves, their talent base can be quite impressive.

10. Philadelphia - QB Nick Foles continues to craft an implausible story line.

11. Indianapolis - When Reggie Wayne limped to the sideline, he took much of the offense with him.

12. Dallas - Cowboy fans remain leery of this defense, and with good reason.

13. Arizona - That 4-5 record within the NFC could hurt them in a tiebreaker scenario.

14. Baltimore - Hanging in there, but still much to prove on the road.

15. N.Y. Giants - One more stumble and they’re toast.

16. Miami - If Ryan Tannehill stands tall in the pocket, they could sneak in as a wild card.

17. Chicago - It’s been a while since Chicago’s defense looked this soft.

18. Green Bay - McCarthy’s right ... they have to win out in December to have a chance.

19. St. Louis - Making strides, but not good enough to play with the big boys.

20. Pittsburgh - Step lightly, Mr. Tomlin. Your gritty team is still alive.

21. San Diego - One step up, two steps back.

22. Tennessee - Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving once again why he should be a backup.

23. Cleveland - The Browns have wasted some good defense this season.

24. Oakland - That 0-4 slate vs. the NFC doomed the Silver & Black to failure.

25. Buffalo - They can run the football and rush the passer. That about covers it.

26. N.Y. Jets - Stuck with Geno Smith, at least for the time being.

27. Minnesota - Anybody heard Josh Freeman’s name lately?

28. Washington - Feeling nice and cozy in the NFC East basement.

29. Tampa Bay - Beatdown in Charlotte raised many of the old concerns.

30. Jacksonville - Only club without a home win could break through on Thursday evening.

31. Atlanta - Roddy White and Steven Jackson emerged from hiding last week.

32. Houston - Closing in on that No. 1 draft pick, amid plenty of needs.

VOTING PANEL: Cris Collinsworth, NBC Sports; Tony Dungy, NBC Sports; Herman Edwards, ESPN; Bob Glauber, Newsday; Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News; Clark Judge, CBSSports.com; Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune; Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com; Jeff Legwold, ESPN/ESPN.com; John Lynch, Fox Sports; Alex Marvez, Foxsports.com; Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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