NEW YORK – Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hung on to the NFL’s top spot after a closer-than-expected win against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Packers (10-3) received nine 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 Packers led 31-7 at the half before getting a 43-37 victory over the Falcons on Monday night.
“(Packers) defense looked very shaky in home win,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.
The New England Patriots (10-3) earned two first-place votes and remained No. 2 after their 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night.
“An impressive road win in San Diego,” ESPN’s Herm Edwards said of the Patriots. “Darrelle Revis is making a huge impact for that defense.”
With tiebreakers against the other AFC division leaders, the Patriots are in a strong position to grab the top seed in the AFC. They can clinch the AFC East again with a victory at home over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
“Tom Brady has been a screaming maniac on the sidelines this year. A very simple reason why: He knows this can be a special season – a Super Bowl season – and he wants to make certain everyone around him is prepared to seize the moment,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Seattle Seahawks (9-4) grabbed the other first-place vote and moved up from No. 5 to No. 3 after a 24-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We’re now seeing a Seattle team that looks a lot like last year’s Super Bowl winner, and that identity is returning at the right time in the season,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback said.
The Denver Broncos (10-3) and the Eagles (9-4) each dropped one spot to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
The Arizona Cardinals (10-3) moved up to No. 6 after a 17-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs that ended a two-game losing streak.
“The Cardinals will probably make the playoffs, but a four-game stretch in which Arizona hasn’t scored more than 18 points doesn’t bode well for upcoming games against St. Louis and Seattle,” Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez said.
The Indianapolis Colts (9-4), who can clinch the AFC South with a win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, are at No. 7.
“The Colts are overcoming both the opposition and themselves of late,” Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News said.
The Detroit Lions (9-4), Dallas Cowboys (9-4) and Baltimore Ravens (8-5) rounded out the top 10.
The Eagles and Cowboys play Sunday night in a matchup that could go a long way toward deciding the NFC East title.
It’s a rematch of Philadelphia’s 33-10 win on Thanksgiving. The game is in Philadelphia, but the Cowboys are 6-0 on the road.
“Will they finally win a must-win game in December?” NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy asked of the Cowboys.
The Tennessee Titans (2-11) are last just ahead of the New York Jets (2-11).
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