2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos top team in final AP Pro32 power rankings

By RICHARD ROSENBLATT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-01-02 16:57

NEW YORK (AP) - The Broncos' rise to the top of the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings began in the last six weeks of the regular season.

That's when Peyton Manning and the Broncos were building a winning streak that turned into 11 in a row.

Denver easily held the No. 1 spot Wednesday in the final rankings of the season. The Broncos (13-3) received 10 first-place votes and 382 points in balloting by The Associated Press panel of 12 media members who regularly cover the league.

``The Broncos have offense, defense and Peyton Manning. Now, they have home-field advantage, too. That's a combination that's difficult to overcome,'' said Clark Judge of CBSSports.com.

New England (12-4) moved up two places to second with one-first place vote and 361 points. It's the same spot the Patriots started the season.

``If they have to win in Denver to reach Super Bowl, Patriots can,'' said Sporting News' Clifton Brown, who had New England first.

The San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) were third with the other first-place vote and 352 points. The Atlanta Falcons (13-3) finished fourth.

``As long as Justin Smith is ready to roll for the postseason,'' said ESPN's Chris Berman after picking the 49ers first.

The top four teams all have playoff byes this weekend, and the first 12 teams make up the entire playoff field. The Chicago Bears were the highest-ranked non-playoff team at 13th.

Kansas City (2-14) was 32nd and last.

The Broncos opened the season 10th, when there were still doubts about Manning's health after the quarterback missed all of last season with major neck issues. He was cut by the Colts, signed by the Broncos, started out 2-3 but then didn't lose again. During the streak, Denver made a steady climb up the top 10 and reached No. 1 three weeks ago.

``Peyton Manning makes his pitch for a fifth MVP and Denver is in the driver's seat for the Super Bowl,'' said Newsday's Bob Glauber. ``About as perfect as John Elway could have imagined when he signed Peyton on the dotted line.''

Indianapolis fared pretty well, too. The Colts made Andrew Luck the first pick in the draft. He took over for Manning and led his team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The Colts opened 32nd in the power rankings and finished ninth - the biggest improvement of any team.

``What a story and what a season for the Colts and coach Chuck Pagano. Andrew Luck thrives in pressure situations and here come the playoffs,'' Fox Sports' John Lynch said.

Other playoffs teams that were not rated highly when the season began were Minnesota, Washington and Seattle. The Vikings went from 29th to 10th; the Redskins from 25th to seventh; and the Seahawks from 22nd to fifth.

``Surprised the Seahawks are this high in the power poll?'' asks Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com. ``Ask yourself what team they can't beat.''

On the flip side, the defending champion New York Giants, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia failed to live up to expectations. The Giants started third and finished 14th; the Steelers opened seventh and ended up 16th; and the Eagles began eighth and wound up 29th.

``Few expected Andy Reid's last season to be so bad,'' said Brown.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

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