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AP Pro 32: Denver still on top, New Orleans next
This is the dominance of the Denver Broncos: give up 48 points in one game and lengthen their lead in the latest Associated Press NFL power rankings.
After Peyton Manning passed for 414 yards and four touchdowns, the Broncos had a 51-48 victory over the Cowboys in Dallas on a wild Sunday afternoon. The team with an NFL-record 230 points over the first five games then pulled in 11 of 12 first-place votes on Tuesday when the AP Pro32 rankings were released.
Despite concerns about the defense after that performance over the weekend, the Manning-fueled Broncos have been quite the machine.
"There may not be a team to match up with all the Denver receivers," said CBSSports.com and SiriusXM radio analyst Pat Kirwan.
"Not sure we've ever seen a quarterback play at level Peyton's at right now," wrote Newsday columnist Bob Glauber.
New Orleans surged into second place, moving past Seattle after its first loss. The Saints are one of three unbeaten teams left in the NFL, and they earned NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy's top vote.
"Always tough at home and winning on the road now," Dungy said, citing concern about Denver's pass rush without Von Miller.
Recalling the 2009 season when New Orleans beat Indianapolis, which was led then by Manning, Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin wondered in his comments whether a rematch of two of the all-time great quarterbacks was beckoning this February.
"Is another Drew Brees-Peyton Manning Super Bowl on the horizon?" he wrote.
The Seahawks fell from second to third after losing 34-28 at Indianapolis. The Colts moved up from sixth to fifth. Kansas City is the other 5-0 squad, and the Chiefs inched up from fifth to fourth. Six points separate the Seahawks and Colts, from third to fifth.
The Chiefs are the turnaround team of the season so far, with new coach Andy Reid working wonders after last year's 2-14 finish. Naturally, skepticism about their talent level still lingers.
"They are the stone-in-the-shoe team; opponents shake their heads at the video and still lose," said ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold.
Wrote Fox Sports editorial consultant John Czarnecki: "They belong because they are unbeaten but still may not be ready for prime time."
The 49ers came in sixth. They beat Houston 34-3.
"For two weeks in a row, San Francisco is starting to look like San Francisco," said ESPN analyst Herm Edwards.
The New England Patriots fell out of the top five, from fourth to seventh after a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati. The Bengals moved up from 15th to ninth, one spot behind Green Bay despite beating the Packers two weeks ago. The Baltimore Ravens rounded out the top 10.
The New York Jets took a big jump from 23rd to 17th after a Monday night win over the Falcons in Atlanta. The Texans tumbled hard, dropped from 12th to 19th after their lopsided loss to the 49ers.
This, again, was unanimous on the panel: Jacksonville is the worst team in the league. The Jaguars received every last-place vote after falling to 0-5 with a 34-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Guess who's next for the Jaguars? Yep, the Broncos.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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