Vikings finished 20th in AP Pro32 poll

The Vikings moved up four spots in the final AP Pro32 power poll of the season.

The Seattle Seahawks finished the regular season where they started it: as the top team in the NFL.

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

The Seahawks will open the playoffs at home on Jan. 10.

“Who’s scared of the big, bad Seahawks? Everybody.” Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune said.

The Patriots (12-4) received the other first-place vote. New England is the top seed in the AFC and also opens the playoffs at home on Jan. 10.

“The Patriots are better in two ways from last year’s AFC runner-up: an improved roster, and home-field advantage,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

According to Glantz-Culver, the Seahawks (at 2-1) and Patriots (at 5-2) are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1.

The Green Bay Packers (No. 3), Dallas Cowboys (No. 4) and Denver Broncos (No. 5) all finished 12-4 and won their respective divisions.

The Cowboys open the playoffs on Sunday against Detroit.

“The surprise team of the 2014 season finishes things off in style with a resounding win at Washington,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “The only team in the tournament to beat the Seahawks on the road this season.”

Indeed, Dallas won all eight road games.

Most of the remaining playoff teams rounded out the top 10: the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 6), Detroit Lions (No. 7), Indianapolis Colts (No. 8), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 9) and the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens (tied for No. 10).

The Bengals, who haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season, face Andrew Luck on Sunday in Indianapolis. The Bengals have lost in the first round each of the past three years.

“Will they finally win a playoff game this year?” asked NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy.

The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Saturday night, a renewal of their bitter rivalry.

“(Baltimore) hoping that Haloti Ngata can plug a few holes,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki of the Ravens defensive lineman who is set to return after a four-game suspension.

NFC South champion Carolina finished at No. 13 with a 7-8-1 record and faces the Cardinals on Saturday.

“The Panthers became the first team to win back-to-back titles in the NFC South since the NFL realigned in 2002,” noted Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News.

Going into the season, Seattle was No. 1, followed by Denver, New England, Green Bay and New Orleans. The Saints finished 7-9 and at No. 23 in the final poll.

At the opposite end of the poll, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland were picked to finish No. 30 to 32. Jacksonville (3-13) did indeed finish No. 30 followed by Tampa Bay, which has the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Tennessee Titans.

The Browns were 25th and the Raiders finished 29th.

THE RANKINGS

The Associated Press Pro32 NFL Power Rankings, as voted by a 12-member panel, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sept. 30, total points based on 32 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 32nd-place vote, and previous ranking:

Team W-L-TPV Rank Points
1. Seattle Seahawks (11) 12-41 383
2. New England Patriots (1) 12-42 368
3. Green Bay Packers 12-43 362
4. Dallas Cowboys 12-44 349
5. Denver Broncos 12-45 336
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-57 319
7. Detroit Lions 11-56 304
8. Indianapolis Colts 11-510 297
9. Cincinnati Bengals 10-5-19 289
10. Baltimore Ravens 10-612 273
10. Arizona Cardinals 11-58 273
12. Philadelphia Eagles 10-612 249
13. Carolina Panthers 7-8-118 237
14. Kansas City Chiefs 9-714 225
15. Houston Texans 9-715 214
16. San Diego Chargers 9-711 207
17. Buffalo Bills 9-716 200
18. San Francisco 49ers 8-818 186
19. Miami Dolphins 8-817 163
20. Minnesota Vikings 7-924 134
21. New York Giants 6-1021 132
22. St. Louis Rams 6-1022 128
23. New Orleans Saints 7-925 124
24. Atlanta Falcons 6-1020 120
25. Cleveland Browns 7-923 113
26. New York Jets 4-1229 87
27. Chicago Bears 5-1127 65
28. Washington Redskins 4-1226 63
29. Oakland Raiders 3-1328 58
30. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-1330 42
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-1431 20
32. Tennessee Titans 2-1432 16s


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