Denver received 11 first-place votes Tuesday for the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a 12-member media panel that regularly covers the league.
The Broncos (5-1) are coming off a 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. Peyton Manning had 318 yards passing and four touchdowns, breaking Brett Favre’s record for career TD passes.
“Would anyone be shocked if Peyton Manning threw 600 TD passes before he’s finished?” asked Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
Manning and the Broncos host the AFC West rival San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.
Dallas (6-1) got the other first-place vote. The Cowboys topped the New York Giants 31-21 for their sixth consecutive victory. They are off to their best start since winning six of the first seven in 2007, when they went 13-3 and were the top seed in the NFC.
“Starting to look like the ‘93 Cowboys,” NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy said.
ESPN’s Herm Edwards agreed.
“Another impressive win for the Cowboys,” he said. “They keep rolling.”
The Philadelphia Eagles moved up a spot to No. 3, followed by the Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals.
“Another reminder that the Colts are not just as good as Andrew Luck,” The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Jenny Vrentas said of the Colts’ 27-0 shutout of the skidding Cincinnati Bengals.
“Their defense is playing very well.”
The Eagles will travel to Glendale, Arizona, to face the Cardinals on Sunday. The Cardinals are 5-1 for the first time in 38 years and are alone atop the NFC West, with a two-game cushion in the loss column over San Francisco and Seattle.
“Is anyone doing a better job coaching a football team than Bruce Arians?” asked Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.
“His Cardinals are the surprising leader of the NFC West.”
After playing the Eagles, the Cardinals face the Cowboys on the road.
“Back-to-back games against Philadelphia and Dallas will prove whether the Cardinals are for real,” Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez said.
The Green Bay Packers moved up from No. 9 to 6 after routing the Carolina Panthers 38-17.
“(Aaron) Rodgers bidding for MVP award,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.
The Chargers, who fell from No. 2 after a 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Lions round out the top 10.
“Fourth-quarter heroics from Matthew Stafford lead Detroit to a comeback win over the Saints and a share of first place in the NFC North,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Ravens have won five of six and lead the AFC North.
“The Ravens are suddenly atop the AFC North,” Vrentas said. “The next two weeks (at Bengals, at Steelers) hold a lot of weight for this division race.”
The 49ers dropped from No. 6 to 11 after the rout in Denver, and the Seahawks went from No. 5 to 12 after their surprising loss to the St. Louis Rams.
“This doesn’t look much like the team that won 16 times a year ago on the way to its first Lombardi Trophy,” Gosselin said.
THE RANKINGSThe Associated Press Pro32 NFL Power Rankings, as voted by a 12-member panel, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 21, total points based on 32 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 32nd-place vote, and previous ranking:
|1. Denver Broncos (11)||5||1||0||383||1|
|2. Dallas Cowboys (1)||6||1||0||363||3|
|3. Philadelphia Eagles||5||1||0||350||4|
|4. Indianapolis Colts||5||2||0||345||7|
|5. Arizona Cardinals||5||1||0||331||8|
|6. Green Bay Packers||5||2||0||329||9|
|7. San Diego Chargers||5||2||0||309||2|
|8. New England Patriots||5||2||0||304||10|
|9. Baltimore Ravens||5||2||0||293||12|
|10. Detroit Lions||5||2||0||274||13|
|11. San Francisco 49ers||4||3||0||267||6|
|12. Seattle Seahawks||3||3||0||262||5|
|13. Kansas City Chiefs||3||3||0||233||17|
|14. Cincinnati Bengals||3||2||1||225||11|
|15. Miami Dolphins||3||3||0||202||23|
|16. Buffalo Bills||4||3||0||201||19|
|17. Pittsburgh Steelers||4||3||0||198||22|
|18. Carolina Panthers||3||3||1||193||14|
|19. Chicago Bears||3||4||0||151||16|
|20. Cleveland Browns||3||3||0||148||15|
|21. New Orleans Saints||2||4||0||142||20|
|22. Houston Texans||3||4||0||141||18|
|23. New York Giants||3||4||0||136||21|
|24. St. Louis Rams||2||4||0||117||27|
|25. Atlanta Falcons||2||5||0||77||24|
|25. Minnesota Vikings||2||5||0||77||26|
|27. Washington Redskins||2||5||0||72||28|
|28. Tennessee Titans||2||5||0||66||25|
|29. New York Jets||1||6||0||64||29|
|30. Jacksonville Jaguars||1||6||0||40||32|
|31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||5||0||30||30|
|32. Oakland Raiders||0||6||0||13||31|