Each week, 12 media members - including the Tribune’s Ira Kaufman - rank teams in what is known as the Associated Press Pro32 Power rankings. Here is Kaufman’s ballot.
1. Denver - Who needs Von Miller and Ryan Clady when Peyton Manning looks as masterful as ever?
2. Seattle - The NFL’s No. 1 defense and a power running game add up to a championship formula.
3. New Orleans - Miami had better find a way to cover TE Jimmy Graham. No one else has.
4. Chicago - The opportunistic Bears are on pace to force 59 turnovers this season.
5. New England - Miami is coming on, but the Pats won’t give up the AFC East crown easily.
6. Cincinnati - That was a big-time comeback against the Packers.
7. Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers has an extra week to stew about the one that got away.
8. Indianapolis - Andrew Luck isn’t as good as advertised ... he’s better.
9. Kansas City - How do you open 3-0? Zero turnovers through three weeks is a good start.
10. Dallas - The high-scoring Cowboys suddenly look like the class of a lousy division.
11. Miami - Heading into the Superdome on Monday night, itching to hound Drew Brees.
12. Baltimore - Has rebounded nicely from that Week 1 debacle at Denver.
13. Houston - AFC’s No. 1 defense faces a major test as Seattle rolls into town.
14. San Francisco - The 49ers could find themselves in the NFC West basement by Sunday afternoon.
15. Atlanta - Shaky defense needs to step it up against Mr. Brady on Sunday evening.
16. Detroit - The protection in front of Matt Stafford has been outstanding.
17. Carolina - This aggressive defense will keep Carolina competitive every week.
18. Tennessee - Like the Chiefs, the disciplined Titans also have no giveaways.
19. San Diego - A soft defense has undermined a strong September by Philip Rivers.
20. N.Y. Jets - Year in, year out, these guys know how to defend the pass.
21. Philadelphia - Peyton Manning can’t wait to slice up this beleaguered secondary.
22. Cleveland - Somebody forgot to tell this defense that there’s a fire sale.
23. Minnesota - Figure on Jared Allen leaving London with at least a couple of sacks.
24. Arizona - Tampa Bay’s dormant attack should thrive against these guys.
25. St. Louis - They usually play the 49ers tough.
26. Washington - No team has yielded more yards than the Capital Gang.
27. N.Y. Giants - Tom Coughlin has emerged from holes before, but this one is deep.
28. Buffalo - Rookie EJ Manuel has thrown only one pick in 108 pass attempts.
29. Oakland - The Raiders should be able to run on Washington’s hapless defense.
30. Tampa Bay - If the Bucs hit the bye week at 0-4, all bets are off.
31. Pittsburgh - Nine turnovers and zero takeaways is a recipe for disaster.
32. Jacksonville - Averaging a mere 2.4 yards per rushing attempt, and that’s no typo.
VOTING PANEL: Chris Collinsworth, NBC Sports; Tony Dungy, NBC Sports; Herman Edwards, ESPN; Bob Glauber, Newsday; Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News; Clark Judge, CBSSports.com; Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune; Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com; John Lynch, Fox Sports; Alex Marvez, Foxsports.com; Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star Telegram