Tom Brady and the New England Patriots maintained their mastery of the AFC East and returned to the top spot in the NFL.
The Patriots clinched the division for the 11th time in 12 years with Sunday’s 41-13 rout of the Miami Dolphins.
New England (11-3) 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.
“Remember when Tom Brady was in decline and the 2-2 Patriots were about to lose control of the AFC East? So much for that,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
The Seattle Seahawks (10-4) got the other three first-place votes and moved up a spot to No. 2 after their 17-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks face the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals (11-3) on Sunday night. The Cardinals moved up a spot to No. 5.
The Denver Broncos jumped a spot to No. 3 after clinching the AFC West with a 22-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
The Green Bay Packers dropped from the top spot to No. 4 after their surprising 21-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“The two best teams in the NFC may be Green Bay and Seattle – yet both sit second in their own divisions with two weeks to play,” said Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News.
The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) are at No. 6 after rallying past the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, followed by the Indianapolis Colts (10-4). The teams play Sunday afternoon in Texas.
Records turned over
Nearly 500 employees at NFL headquarters in New York turned over phone and email records to investigators looking into how commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff pursued and handled evidence in the Ray Rice case, two people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Details of the investigation won’t be made public until former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III releases his report.
Mueller has been investigating whether anyone at the NFL had seen or obtained video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back striking his then-fiancee inside an elevator at an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino before the video was published online.
Around the league
Bernie Kosar, the Browns’ best quarterback in the past 30 years, says the team’s front office lacks vision and switching to rookie Johnny Manziel “is a recipe for disaster.” … The Broncos have placed LB Danny Trevathan on injured reserve and waived tight end Dominique Jones. … Jaguars DT Roy Miller has signed a four-year contract extension worth $16.2 million. Miller has started 14 games this season, recording 30 tackles and a sack. … The Redskins have placed QB Colt McCoy on injured reserve with a neck injury, ruling him out for the final two games of the season. … The Jaguars have placed RB Denard Robinson on injured reserve.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.