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: A shutout at MetLife Stadium was merely a dress rehearsal for Super Bowl Sunday.
2. San Francisco: Back to their bullying style, and getting healthier along the way.
3. Denver: One more loss and they’ll be looking at an AFC wild-card berth instead of a No. 1 seed.
4. Kansas City: Jamaal Charles is making a late run for MVP honors — and he’s got Andy Reid’s vote.
5. New Orleans: With two games left, they could win the NFC South or miss the playoffs altogether.
6. Carolina: A home loss to New Orleans would give the Saints the division title.
7. New England: The battered Pats face another major road test against the surging Ravens.
8. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck will be heading into a sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium.
9. Cincinnati: Every now and then, they throw in a clunker that empowers the skeptics.
10. Arizona: Defense didn’t show up vs. the Titans, but they survived.
11. Baltimore: Proving they still have enough vets who know what it takes to win.
12. Miami: Give Joe Philbin his due ... he has held this embattled franchise together.
13. Philadelphia: There’s no excuse for yielding 48 points to the Vikings.
14. Chicago: The Bears didn’t win any style points against Cleveland, but they survived.
15. Green Bay: Need to win out and hope Chicago stumbles at least once.
16. San Diego: From week to week, you never know what to expect from the Chargers.
17. Detroit: So much talent, so little discipline.
18. Dallas: How bad is this defense? Historically bad.
19. Pittsburgh: Plenty of pride remains amid all the disappointment.
20. St. Louis: Look out for these guys in 2014.
21. N.Y. Jets: The Rex Ryan postmortems are already under way in the Big Apple.
22. Minnesota: You can’t say they’re not playing hard for Leslie Frazier.
23. Tennessee: They’ve been out of rhythm since October in Music City.
24. Tampa Bay: Lots of potential on defense, lots of work to do on offense.
25. Buffalo: Still wondering if EJ Manuel is good enough to be THE guy.
26. N.Y. Giants: Tom Coughlin has to be tired of making excuses for Eli Manning.
27. Cleveland: Just when the offense clicked, a decent defense went south vs. Chicago.
28. Jacksonville: Still have a chance to finish up 5-1 in the division.
29. Atlanta: That win against Washington could cost them a shot at Clowney.
30. Oakland: Looked like they had never defended against a screen pass before.
31. Washington: Forget the QB drama. The Redskins have allowed the most points in the league.
32. Houston: Here comes Peyton Manning, and he doesn’t look happy.
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