AP Pro32 ballot from Gosselin

AP Pro32 ballot from Gosselin

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Rick Gosselin of Dallas Morning News:

Week 11

RICK GOSSELIN (Dallas Morning News)

1. Houston Texans - Arian Foster has scored a touchdown in all nine of the Texans' games and is their MVP candidate in an 8-1 season. He has 12 touchdowns in all, 10 rushing and two receiving.

2. Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons may have lost their bid for perfection, but not their grasp on the NFC South. The 8-1 Falcons still have a three-game lead over Tampa Bay and a four-game lead on the Saints.

3. Chicago Bears - The Bears have already intercepted 19 passes this season and forced 30 turnovers. Chicago leads the league in both categories.

4. San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers have allowed the fewest points in the NFL (127) and the fewest yards in the NFC.

5. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens are an AFC-best 5-0 at home this season and have now won 15 consecutive games there. Three of Baltimore's next four games are on the road, though.

6. Green Bay Packers - The Packers are coming off their bye and frankly, the arm of Aaron Rodgers needed the week off. He has thrown at least 30 passes in all nine of Green Bay's games thus far.

7. New England Patriots - Only five quarterbacks have thrown more passes this season than the 358 of Tom Brady - but none have thrown fewer interceptions (three).

8. Denver Broncos - The Broncos have the best balance in the league this season, ranking third in the NFL in offense and sixth in defense. A player like Peyton Manning makes both sides of the ball better.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers - This was the worst weekend of the NFL season for quarterbacks with four of them knocked from games with injuries: Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, Jay Cutler of the Bears, Alex Smith of the 49ers and Michael Vick of the Eagles.

10. New York Giants - Eli Manning has gone three games without throwing a touchdown pass for the slumping Giants. He has passed for fewer than 200 yards in two of them. He appears to have a tired arm.

11. Indianapolis Colts - In the six games since Indy's bye, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has rushed for as many touchdowns (five) as he has thrown.

12. Seattle Seahawks - Thankfully, this is the final weekend of NFL byes. The Seahawks, Giants, Titans and Vikings all have Week 11 off.

13. Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson has scored five touchdowns in the last four weeks and averaged 157.3 yards per game during that stretch.

14. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees topped 300 yards passing in five of the first six games this season. But he has been under 300 in each of his last three starts.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman has steered the Bucs to four wins in their last five games to rekindle playoff hopes with a 5-4 record. He has thrown 13 TD passes against just one interception during that stretch.

16. Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys played six of their first nine games on the road in their 4-5 start. This weekend they begin a three-game homestand and all three are win-able - 2-7 Cleveland, 3-6 Washington and 3-6 Philadelphia.

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Geno Atkins leads all NFL defensive tackles with seven sacks this season. He led all tackles in 2011 as well with 7 ½.

18. Detroit Lions - The Lions play two home games in a span of five days - the Packers on Sunday and Texans on Thanksgiving.

19. San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers has thrown nine interceptions and lost three fumbles in the Chargers' five losses this season.

20. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals have scored the fewest points in the NFC this season. But a top 10 defense has kept them on the periphery of playoff contention at 4-5.

21. Tennessee Titans - The Titans are the only NFL team that has allowed 300 points this season. Chicago put 50 on them, Detroit 40 and five other teams have scored in the 30s.

22. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins are the only team in the AFC that has scored more touchdowns on the ground (11) than through the air (six).

23. St. Louis Rams - Steven Jackson has rushed for a disappointing 504 yards this season, averaging a paltry 3.7 yards per carry for the 3-5-1 Rams.

24. New York Jets - The Jets are 0-2 against the NFC this season and now head to St. Louis. They are one of the few AFC teams struggling against the other conference in 2012. The NFC holds a 25-16 edge in the series.

25. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are knee deep in the longest losing streak of the Andy Reid era (five games). Rookie quarterback (Nick Foles) will make his first NFL start for Philly this week.

26. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III leads all NFL quarterbacks with 526 yards rushing, six touchdowns and six fumbles.

27. Buffalo Bills - The Bills hired Dave Wannstedt to fix the defense and signed free-agent DE Mario Williams to fix the pass rush. But Buffalo has slid from 26th in the NFL in defense in 2011 to 31st this season.

28. Oakland Raiders - Raiders QB Carson Palmer has thrown an interception in five consecutive games for the fading Raiders.

29. Carolina Panthers - The Panthers are the only team in the NFC that has scored more touchdowns on the ground (nine) than through the air (eight).

30. Cleveland Browns - The Browns, Cardinals, Packers and Redskins all return from byes this week. Cleveland is 7-11 in games following bye weeks.

31. Kansas City Chiefs - Matt Cassel is the only quarterback in the NFL that has thrown an interception in every game he has started.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars have lost six games in a row, including the last three without defending NFL rushing champion Maurice Jones-Drew because of an injury.

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AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

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AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

Bengals Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert will undergo ankle surgery, according to multiple reports.

Estimates varied on when Eifert would return, but he was not expected to be back on the field until at least mid-August.

Eifert suffered his injury at the Pro Bowl, which he left wearing a walking boot.

His ankle has not responded to treatment as well as Eifert hoped, and he could not join his teammates for OTA’s this week.

A first-round pick in 2013 (21st overall), Eifert led all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdown catches last season, and had 52 catches overall for 615 yards. Still only 25 years old, Eifert has emerged as a major weapon for the Bengals, and they have already picked up his fifth-year option.

The priority for the Bengals is to have Eifert ready for Week 1 when they visit the Jets. Ryan Hewitt, Tyler Kroft, and C. J. Uzomah will see plenty of reps at tight end until Eifert returns.

RELATED: THREE REASONS WHY JOE FLACCO CAN RETURN TO THE TOP

 

NFL owners vote for modest changes to replay, shun overhaul

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NFL owners vote for modest changes to replay, shun overhaul

The NFL made modest changes to replay rules Tuesday, but did not institute major changes that some teams, including the Ravens, had proposed in recent months.

Owners voted for changes that slightly increased situations where plays can be reviewed, and when officials can turn to the league office for help during games.

Situations subject to replay review, which were not before, include:

- Penalty enforcement

- Proper down

- Spot of a foul

- Status of game clock

Plays not reviewable in the past, that can now be reviewed, include:

- Where a ball in the air crosses the sideline.

- Whether a player was blocked into a loose ball.

- Advancement by a player after either a valid, or invalid, fair catch signal.

- Whether player impetus forced a ball to travel into the end zone.

The Ravens made a proposal in March that would have made all plays reviewable except for offensive and defensive holding, offensive and defensive pass interference, illegal contact, illegal use of hands, and whether a quarterback, receiver, or kicker had been hit illegally. The Patriots had previously proposed that all plays be made reviewable, but that has also been resisted by the owners and the competition committee.

Each team will still be given two replay challenges per game, and will be awarded a third challenge only if the first two are successful.

Forsett's cousin is on The Bachelorette — and survived the opener

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Forsett's cousin is on The Bachelorette — and survived the opener

Because Monday Night Football only runs in the fall and winter, one would think that America's TV guide would be lacking a program full of intense, testosterone-driven competition between determined men during the summer time. But that's why ABC has given us The Bachelorette, a dating game show that'll come on once a week and features a woman named Jo Jo looking for love amongst a handful of guys wearing suits that are way too tight and sporting unhealthy amounts of hair gel.

Fine, so it's not a perfect substitution for four quarters of NFL action, but it'll have to do (it beats turning the TV off and interacting with loved ones, at least). And for Ravens running back Justin Forsett, The Bachelorette will actually be more than something he simply puts up on the screen when he doesn't want to watch The Departed, which is seemingly on at least once a day, again. That's because his cousin is a contestant striving for Jo Jo's heart.

Here's what Forsett had to say during the show's premiere:

Then, when asked which of the dudes he was related to, he responded:

When looking through The Bachelorette's cast, there's no Chris, but there is a Christian, whom must be the person Forsett is referring to. As far as how Christian's debut went? Well — to put it into football terms — he picked up a win in Week 1:

Of course, Forsett was unable to escape the night without being on the receiving end of some ridicule. Former Jaguars star (and teammate of Forsett's in 2013) Maurice Jones-Drew fired this message off after seeing the Ravens' workhorse's original post in which he said he hopes Christian would come out on top:

Well, Christian survived the opener, at least. Whether he's able to keep the drive going and eventually cross the goal line as the show's champion, though, is something that will only be revealed in the coming episodes. 

(Author's note: Writing about The Bachelorette while using football metaphors helps make writing about The Bachelorette feel more acceptable). 

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