Vikings slip another spot in AP rankings

The Vikings fell back down to 24th in the AP Pro32 rankings after their loss to Miami.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Seattle Seahawks are once again playing like the top team in the NFL.

Defending Super Bowl champion Seattle (11-4) received seven of 12 first-place votes Tuesday in the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a media panel that regularly covers the league.

The Seahawks are coming off a 35-6 rout of the Arizona Cardinals.

“Bad news for NFC teams. Seahawks are back,” NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy said.

The Patriots (12-3), who were No. 1 last week, received the other five first-place votes and trail Seattle by only three points (379-376) in the poll.

The Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Denver Broncos 37-28 on Monday night.

“The AFC’s No. 1 seed appears poised for a sixth Super Bowl berth in the past 14 seasons,” said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.

The Bengals (10-4-1) also clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season with the victory. The Bengals are looking for their first playoff win since the 1990 season.

“All season long, we haven’t quite known what to make of the Bengals,” the Monday Morning Quarterback’s Jenny Vrentas said. “But Monday night, at least, they showed the grit of a team that could avoid its one-and-done playoffs past.”

They close the regular season Sunday night at Pittsburgh (10-5), with the winner taking the AFC North title.

“They (Steelers) are going to be a dangerous playoff team,” ESPN’s Herm Edwards said.

The Green Bay Packers (11-4) moved up a spot to No. 3. The Packers host the Detroit Lions (11-4), who are No. 6 in the poll, for the NFC North title.

The Dallas Cowboys (11-4) clinched the NFC East last week and moved up two spots to No. 4.

“Finally, a division title for the Cowboys, as Tony Romo puts an exclamation point on a terrific regular-season run and gets into the MVP conversation,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

The Broncos (11-4) dropped to No. 5, but can still clinch a first-round bye with a win on Sunday.

“The Broncos can go 8-0 at home this season with a victory over Oakland in the season finale,” said Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.

The Lions, Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Bengals and Indianapolis Colts rounded out the top 10.

The injury-riddled Cards dropped three spots after the loss to the Seahawks.

“Great team, great coach, but no quarterback,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.

THE RANKINGS

The Associated Press Pro32 NFL Power Rankings, as voted by a 12-member panel, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 23, total points based on 32 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 32nd-place vote, and previous ranking:
TEAM WL TPts Pvs
1. Seattle Seahawks (7) 114 0379 2
2. New England Patriots (5) 123 0376 1
3. Green Bay Packers 114 0360 4
4. Dallas Cowboys 114 0346 6
5. Denver Broncos 114 0329 3
6. Detroit Lions 114 0321 8
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 105 0301 12
8. Arizona Cardinals 114 0300 5
9. Cincinnati Bengals 104 1299 11
10. Indianapolis Colts 105 0287 7
11. San Diego Chargers 96 0261 14
12. Baltimore Ravens 96 0243 10
12. Philadelphia Eagles 96 0243 9
14. Kansas City Chiefs 87 0214 15
15. Houston Texans 87 0212 17
16. Buffalo Bills 87 0198 13
17. Miami Dolphins 87 0195 18
18. Carolina Panthers 68 1170 21
18. San Francisco 49ers 78 0170 16
20. Atlanta Falcons 69 0157 24
21. New York Giants 69 0145 25
22. St. Louis Rams 69 0129 19
23. Cleveland Browns 78 0124 22
24. Minnesota Vikings 69 0118 23
25. New Orleans Saints 69 0110 20
26. Washington Redskins 411 073 31
27. Chicago Bears 510 068 26
28. Oakland Raiders 312 067 28
29. New York Jets 312 058 27
30. Jacksonville Jaguars 312 044 29
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 213 025 30
32. Tennessee Titans 213 014 32



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