Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Clark Judge of CBSSports.com:
CLARK JUDGE (CBSSports.com)
1. Atlanta _ Crushing Philadelphia after the Eagles’ bye convinced me: No one is better.
2. Chicago _ Who needs Jay Cutler when you have a defense that scores like this?
3. Houston _ The Texans win their division by the first of December. I haven’t seen a race this easy to call since Secretariat ran the Belmont.
4. New York Giants _ Warning: These Giants are better than the team that won Super Bowl XLVI.
5. San Francisco _ Enough already. It’s time to declare a moratorium on Alex Smith criticism.
6. Green Bay _ As Aaron Rodgers goes, so goes the Pack … and he’s going great now, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions the last three games, all of them victories.
7. Baltimore _ That image in your rearview mirror is Pittsburgh, and, yes, the Steelers are closer than you might think.
8. Denver _ Look at the schedule: The Broncos only have one opponent left with a winning record, and that’s Baltimore. Look for them to keep moving up.
9. New England _ They run. They pass. They score. And they win. Big. Yep, nothing has changed around the Patriots, not as long as Tom Brady is the guy taking snaps.
10. Pittsburgh _ Somebody tell me again what the problem is with Todd Haley’s offense. All I know is that Ben Roethlisberger seldom has looked sharper.
11. Detroit _ Yeah, so this is a reach. Tell me who else to put up here. The Lions just saved their season for the second time in three weeks. Plus, they have Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
12. Miami _ It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is _ Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore _ these guys can’t lose, and imagine what would’ve happened had Dan Carpenter hit one of those field goals the first time they played the Jets.