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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In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

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In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

Not everyone close to Dennis Pitta was immediately sold on his second NFL comeback attempt. Will his twice-fractured hip hold up? How much is Pitta risking his long-term health?

Pitta has pondered those questions for months. But after the first week of OTA’s, the Ravens’ 30-year-old tight end remained confident he had made the right decision.

“I had to convince a few people, and I’m thankful for those who have been in my corner all along and had my best interests in mind,” Pitta said. “Like I’ve said before, I know my situation better than anyone else, and I’m confident in the decision I made to come back, and certainly there were people who wanted to make sure that I was confident in that decision. I have a great support team behind me, and we all feel good about this move.”

Pitta first fractured his hip during training camp in 2013, then again on a non-contact play against the Browns in 2014. However, Pitta says he doesn’t think about his right hip when he’s on the field. He’s also not lowering his expectations, despite not playing at all in 2015, and not playing a full season since 2012.

Pitta was one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, catching 61 passes for 669 yards during the 2012 regular season, then adding 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the Ravens’ playoff run to a Super Bowl title.

Asked if he could return that level of play, Pitta suggested, “Why not?”

“No, my expectations haven’t changed from four years ago, to two years ago, to now,” Pitta said. “My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year. Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play and it’s just a matter of getting those reps back to where I’m confident in doing all of that. So, yes, expectations personally are very high.”

Pitta obviously wasn’t ready to end his career. If he is on the 53-man roster Week 1, it will be a terrific comeback story.

Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

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Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

If you didn't the the Pittsburgh Steelers enough already, this ought to help. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and receiver Antonio Brown decided to take in some hockey on Thursday and unfortunately, they were cheering for the local team.

On the one hand, what do you expect? They play for the Pittsburgh Steelers so it's no surprise to see them cheering for the hometown team. On the other hand, the Steelers are the team Ravens fans all love to hate so to see them supporting the chief rivals of the Washington Capitals, that stings.

Just one more reason to hate the Steelers this football season.

RELATED: SEAN PAYTON SAYS RAVENS LOSING WEEK OF OTAS ISN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL

Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

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Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

The Ravens forfeited one week of OTAs as part of their punishment for breaking offseason workout rules (the team dressed players in full pads during rookie minicamp, which is a no-go). But don't worry guys, Saints head coach Sean Payton says that's no biggie. 

Of course a few OTA days seem like peanuts to a guy who was suspended for all of 2012, you may be thinking. But hear the man out.  

During a radio interview with PFT Live, Payton was asked about the impact of losing those sessions. 

I don’t think it’s a big deal. The reason I say that is, look, it doesn’t keep the players from lifting and running and so a week of OTAs would be three on-the-field sessions. You don’t want to lose those opportunities and, shoot, one of those opportunities you might have some type of team building experience set up. I think each team does similar things during the OTAs. There’s a lot of offense versus defense. There’s some restrictions regarding one-on-ones but the players are out there in their element, and they’re going though a little bit of a practice format for two hours. So really that equates to about six hours on the field.

Payton explained that the offseason's first phases are valuable because players return to the facility to work out and build camaraderie.

The Ravens may miss out on practice elements, but they're still getting to do what's most important at this early juncture.