Vikings hold at No. 25 in AP Pro32 poll

The Vikings held onto 25th place after an overtime win over 31st-ranked Tampa Bay, while the Broncos were the unanimous No. 1 with a big matchup ahead.

Going into Sunday’s highly anticipated matchup against the New England Patriots, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are the unanimous choice as the NFL’s top team.

Denver received all 12 first-place votes Tuesday for the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a media panel that regularly covers the league.

The Broncos are 6-1 and coming off a 35-21 win over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday.

“The most complete team in the game right now,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “Everything’s working on Peyton’s offense, but now the Broncos have the defense to match. Barring a string of key injuries, looks like another run to the Super Bowl.”

Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes and the Patriots (6-2) overwhelmed the Chicago Bears 51-23 on Sunday, helping New England move from No. 8 to No. 3 in the poll.

“The Patriots have won four in a row to seize control of the AFC East,” Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News said.

Sunday’s game will be the 16th time that Manning and Brady will play against each other.

“Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady never gets old,” Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez said. “Round 16 comes Sunday in Foxborough.”

Brady is 10-5 against Manning, but Manning won the most recent matchup in the AFC title game last season.

Sunday’s game is the first in NFL history where two starting quarterbacks with at least 150 career regular-season wins each will face off. And Brady will be making his 200th career start.

The Arizona Cardinals, coming a 24-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, moved from No. 5 to No. 2 in the poll.

“That’s no desert mirage Bruce Arians has artfully crafted in Glendale,” Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune said.

The Cardinals (6-1) have a two-game lead in the NFC West entering Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys (6-2), who dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 after Monday’s 20-17 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins’ aggressive defense was effective in slowing down the Cowboys, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

“Cards D will be blitzing after watching Washington,” said Tony Dungy of NBC Sports.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo left the game with a back injury before returning late in the loss.

“The Cowboys were due for a rough game, but this one could have big implications with Tony Romo’s injury,” ESPN’s Herm Edwards said.

The Eagles dropped from No. 3 to No. 5 after the loss to the Cardinals.

The Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks rounded out the top 10.

The Lions (6-2) overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit before rallying for a 22-21 win over the Falcons at Wembley Stadium in London. They lead the Packers by a game in the NFC North.

“(Matthew) Stafford continues to shine minus Calvin Johnson, (Reggie) Bush,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.



THE RANKINGS

WL TPts Pvs
1. Denver Broncos (12) 61 0384 1
2. Arizona Cardinals 61 0368 5
3. New England Patriots 62 0360 8
4. Dallas Cowboys 62 0329 2
5. Philadelphia Eagles 52 0326 3
6. Detroit Lions 62 0300 10
7. Indianapolis Colts 53 0294 4
8. San Diego Chargers 53 0287 7
9. Green Bay Packers 53 0284 6
10. Seattle Seahawks 43 0277 12
11. San Francisco 49ers 43 0273 11
12. Cincinnati Bengals 42 1265 14
13. Pittsburgh Steelers 53 0249 17
14. Baltimore Ravens 53 0248 9
15. Kansas City Chiefs 43 0246 13
16. Buffalo Bills 53 0208 16
17. Miami Dolphins 43 0187 15
18. New Orleans Saints 34 0177 21
19. Houston Texans 44 0160 22
20. Cleveland Browns 43 0157 20
21. Carolina Panthers 34 1154 18
22. New York Giants 34 0127 23
23. Chicago Bears 35 0116 19
23. Washington Redskins 35 0116 27
25. Minnesota Vikings 35 0101 25
26. St. Louis Rams 25 086 24
27. Atlanta Falcons 26 068 25
28. Tennessee Titans 26 061 28
29. Jacksonville Jaguars 17 044 30
30. New York Jets 17 041 29
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 031 31
32. Oakland Raiders 07 012 32


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