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AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Bob Glauber of Newsday:

Week 11

BOB GLAUBER (Newsday)

1. Houston Texans - A statement game for the Texans, who slogged

through the rain and muck at Soldier Field to outlast the Bears. Some

well-earned fist pumping from Texans defensive coordinator Wade

Phillips, whose unit one-upped the host team's D.

2. Atlanta Falcons - Memo to Roddy White: next time you want to talk

about 16-0, wait until AFTER you play the Saints.

3. Green Bay Packers - Pack hopes week off doesn't interrupt hot

streak. They won five of six before the bye, now head to Detroit.

Lions have beaten Packers only once in last 13.

4. Chicago Bears - The bad news: The Bears lost at home to Houston.

The worse news: another concussion for Jay Cutler. Can't win without

this guy.

5. San Francisco 49ers - Terrific comeback by backup Colin Kaepernick

as Niners tie it with 17 fourth-quarter points. But kicker David Akers

can't seal the deal in OT, and Niners settle for the tie. Could prove

huge if Seahawks stay in the NFC West race to the end.

6. Baltimore Ravens - Ravens set franchise record for most points in a

game, pummeling the reeling Raiders and prepping for this week's

divisional showdown against the Steelers. Ravens 7-2 for first time in

the John Harbaugh era.

7. Denver Broncos - The Peyton Manning MVP tour continues. Not a bad

return for John Fox, either, as the former Panthers coach shows up his

old team in 36-14 win.

8. New England Patriots - Pats continue dominance of Bills, but not

before sweating out a shootout win at home. Pass defense continues to

be an issue for Bill Belichick's group, though. Needed a game-saving

end zone interception from Devin McCourty to win it.

9. New York Giants - Another year, another second-half swoon for the

Giants. This time, Eli Manning's the biggest issue; no TD passes in

his last three games. That hasn't happened since his rookie season.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers barely hold off 1-8 Chiefs at home,

but not before losing Ben Roethlisberger to a shoulder injury. The

timing couldn't be worse: Steelers face Ravens twice in next three

weeks.

11. Seattle Seahawks - Another fine showing for rookie Russell Wilson,

who schools Mark Sanchez in a convincing Seahawks win to keep

divisional race tight.

12. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck takes the baton from Peyton

Manning in the Colts-Patriots rivalry, which resumes on Sunday at

Gillette. Win or lose, Colts very much in the playoff hunt.

13. New Orleans Saints - Remember that four-game losing streak to

start the season? It's a distant memory for the Saints, winners of

four of their last five, including Sunday's rousing effort against

previously unbeaten Atlanta.

14. Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson's a medical marvel. Less than

a year after ACL surgery, he leads the NFL in rushing. Last four

games: a combined 629 yards and five TDs.

15. Dallas Cowboys - A season-saving win at Philly? Could be. With

Giants slumping and a soft schedule for Dallas, the Cowboys might be

back in the mix.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Greg Schiano said he wants to be known as

more than just the guy who goes after teams in late-game knee-down

situations. Another in a series of impressive wins is getting the job

done.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - One of the most complete games Bengals have

played in years, as they pummel the defending Super Bowl champs at

home behind Andy Dalton's career-high four INTs and a defense that

pummels Eli Manning.

18. Detroit Lions - One step forward last year, one step back this

year. There's always a team to fit that description. Looks like it's

the 2012 Lions. Defense doesn't show up against Vikings, and another

divisional loss to the Packers on Sunday puts their playoff hopes in

further peril.

19. Tennessee Titans - Bud Adams ought to rip his team more often. A

week after saying he'd never seen a home game as bad as the 51-20 loss

to the Bears, the Titans go out and thump the Dolphins on the road to

keep their playoff hopes alive.

20. San Diego Chargers - Still trying to figure out why Philip Rivers

would throw that pass. You know, the one that was intercepted,

returned for a touchdown, and threw more misery onto a season gone

bad.

21. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill looks like a rookie with three

picks at home against Tennessee.

22. Washington Redskins - Mike Shanahan insists he hasn't given up on

the season. Let's see if his players prove him right in a largely

meaningless game against Philly.

23. Arizona Cardinals - Why you can never look at a 4-0 start the same

way: Cardinals were that good a month into the season. They haven't

won since. Now it's off to face an angry Falcons team coming off their

first loss. Ouch.

24. St. Louis Rams - Rams nearly pull off huge upset, and Greg "The

Leg" Zeurlein's 53-yard field goal in OT appeared to win it. Nope.

Penalty. 58-yarder no good. Settle for the tie. Still an impressive

effort for an improving team.

25. Buffalo Bills - Feisty effort from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who nearly

pulls off dramatic comeback in New England, but throws it to the wrong

team at the end. Bills now 0-11 at Gillette.

26. Philadelphia Eagles - Wonder if we ever see Michael Vick play

again for the Eagles. Concussion against the Cowboys could be the

start of the Nick Foles era.

27. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez had hoped to show off for his old

college coach. Instead, Pete Carroll got to see just how miserable the

Jets' quarterback has turned out to be this season.

28. Carolina Panthers - Special teams coach Brian Murphy gets the gate

after a blowout loss to Denver. Won't be last coaching change for

Panthers. Could be a clean sweep at season's end.

29. Oakland Raiders - Raiders' awful defense at it again. They've

given up a combined 97 points the last two games. Don't imagine things

will get much better against the resurgent Saints.

30. Cleveland Browns - Rumors of Mike Holmgren to the Cowboys swirling

this week in advance of Browns-Dallas matchup in Big D. Holmgren says

nothing's up.

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Finally, the Chiefs played 60 minutes without

surrendering a turnover. Too bad they had to play overtime; Matt

Cassel's interception cost the Chiefs a chance at the biggest upset of

the week.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars - Stat that will most likely get Mike

Mularkey tossed after the season: the Jags have been outscored 153-44

in five home losses.

---

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Gillmore: No panic despite thinning TE ranks

Gillmore: No panic despite thinning TE ranks

When the Ravens entered training camp, tight end was considered the deepest position on the team after the signing of veteran Ben Watson and the return of Dennis Pitta from two serious hip injuries.

But now, the Ravens are staring at the prospect of having just one healthy tight end for their Week 1 game against the Bills.

Watson suffered what is believed to be a season-ending Achilles injury on the first play of the Ravens preseason game Saturday night against the Lions, and Dennis Pitta (broken finger) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed) remain sidelined with injuries. Two other tight ends, Darren Waller and Nick Boyle must begin serving suspensions when the regular season starts – Waller four games and Boyle 10.

So of the top six tight ends on the depth chart, Crockett Gillmore is the only healthy one who will be on the roster for the Sept. 11 opener.

But Gillmore, who had one catch for 2 yards in the Ravens 30-9 win Saturday night, said no one is in panic mode.

MORE RAVENS: 3 OBSERVATIONS FROM FLACCO'S PRESEASON DEBUT

“This is an organization that has dealt with those kinds of things since I’ve been here, and we’ve always had guys step up,” Gillmore said.

Watson’s injury does have a painful ring of familiarity; the Ravens lost veterans Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith to season-ending Achilles injuries last year.

“It’s not like we’re sweating bullets around here,” Gillmore said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can play.”

The problem is, at least two of them – Waller and Boyle – can’t play early in the season. Pitta has been out with a broken finger sustained in a scuffle with Kamalei Correa in a stadium practice earlier this month, and Wiliams has missed the past two preseason games. Their availability for Week 1 remains uncertain.

Watson’s injury could open the door for Daniel Brown to make the team, at least until Waller’s suspension is over, depending on the progress of Pitta and Williams.

Another option might be to look to utilize fullback Kyle Juszczyk more often in a hybrid role.

 “That’s a versatile guy that can do everything,” Gillmore said.

“We’re not sweating,” Gillmore said. “We’ve got a bunch of receivers, too. We’ll make it work.”

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Ravens win preseason game vs. Lions, but lose Watson for season

Ravens win preseason game vs. Lions, but lose Watson for season

BALTIMORE – Five instant observations from the Ravens’ 30-9 preseason win over the Lions, which made the Ravens 3-0 this preseason:

1. Ben Watson’s season-ending Achilles injury made this victory hollow:

The veteran tight end was lost on the first play from scrimmage, and his season was lost before he ever played a regular season game for the Ravens. Football can be cruel.

2.  Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon’s knee injury could be another blow.

It was announced that Dixon had a sprained left knee, but he was helped off the field, and no timetable was given for his return. It would not be surprising if an MRI is forthcoming. If so, many people will be holding their breath.

MORE RAVENS: DEEPER LOOK AT FLACCO'S PRESEASON DEBUT

3. Rookie pass rusher Matt Judon looks ready to have an immediate impact.

Judon had a strip-sack on another active night. At the very least, Judon looks like could have an immediate role as a situational pass rusher.

4. Linebacker-safety Anthony Levine could be the Ravens’ most improved player.

Levine had an athletic interception, and he has made a successful transition to playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Last week, Levine picked off a pass on a two-point conversion attempt against the Colts and took it to the house. Levine’s ability to line up in multiple spots, and to make plays, could make the Ravens’ defense more versatile and less predictable.

5.  Wide receiver Jeremy Butler keeps making plays.

I know it’s preseason, and I know the Ravens are deep at wide receiver. But I think they have to keep Jeremy Butler. He had his second touchdown catch of the preseason, he can contribute on special teams, and he caught 31 passes last season. I see the Ravens keeping seven receivers - Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore, and Butler.

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Three observations as post-injury Flacco returns to field in preseason debut

Three observations as post-injury Flacco returns to field in preseason debut

BALTIMORE – Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played two series Saturday night against the Lions, and completed 11 of 16 passes for 94 yards before leaving the game. It was Flacco’s first game since his season-ending knee injury last November. Here are three observations from Flacco’s action:

1. The Ravens got what they wanted - they got Flacco work, and he escaped unscathed.

Flacco had talked about playing the entire half, but Ryan Mallett took over in the second quarter. Flacco had already thrown 16 passes, and his knee has not been an issue since Day 1 of training camp. After seeing what happened to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo the night before, it was hard to blame the Ravens for playing it safe.

Flacco got his first sack out of the way, and it came courtesy of an old friend. Lions tackle Haloti Ngata got credit for sacking Flacco for a one-yard loss. Flacco and Ngata were teammates with the Ravens for seven seasons. Flacco got right up, and Ngata and Flacco now have something else to laugh about, because he shrugged it off and continued to play. 

MORE RAVENS: WATSON LOST FOR SEASON

2. Flacco had good chemistry with wide receiver Mike Wallace.

He tried to hit Wallace deep on his first pass, and Wallace caught three passes for 37 yards. Wallace was one of the new weapons the Ravens acquired this offseason, and he has talked about how much he looked forward to playing with Flacco. Perhaps the Ravens will get more from Wallace than the Vikings and Dolphins did in recent years.

3. Flacco did enough to enter Week 1 feeling even more confident.

He won’t play in the preseason finale, so Flacco can prepare for Week 1 against the Bills, and he has already gotten his feet wet in game action. Mission accomplished.