NEW YORK — The Seattle Seahawks start the preseason right where they ended last season, as the No. 1 team in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.
In balloting by 12 media members who regularly cover the NFL, the top three teams in the AP Pro32 were the Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.
The Super Bowl champion Seahawks grabbed 11 first-place votes on Tuesday and had 383 points.
“The world champions are still intact and have the ability to repeat, but that’s a long way off,” said Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com.
Their NFC West rival from the Bay Area earned the other first-place vote and had 360 points.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News put the 49ers in the top spot.
“The 49ers can run the ball and play defense,” Gosselin said. “With Vernon Davis, a healthy Michael Crabtree and the addition of Stevie Johnson, the 49ers should be able to pass it now as well.”
The Broncos and New England Patriots, who faced each other in the AFC championship game, followed at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Both AFC powers were active in the offseason trying to get an edge on the other.
After getting blown out in the Super Bowl, Denver added wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to help out Peyton Manning, and DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward to bolster the defense.
“Peyton Manning isn’t going away just yet and the Broncos have enough firepower on offense and some key additions on defense to get back to the big game,” Kirwan said.
The Patriots added Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to help a defense that lost key starters last season to injury.
“Tom Brady still is plenty good enough to win a championship,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “Question is whether there’s enough around him to give him a chance.”
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints were tied for fifth.
ESPN’s Herm Edwards thinks the Packers are a strong favorite to repeat as division champions.
“A healthy Aaron Rodgers along with the running game of Eddie Lacy and the additions on defense, Julius Peppers and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, is not good for the NFC North,” Edwards said.
Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com agreed.
“This looks like Green Bay’s best roster since their Super Bowl-winning team of 2010,” he said.
The Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers rounded out the top 10.
The Bengals have made the playoffs for three consecutive seasons and lost in the first round each time. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, which ties for the sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history.
“The time is now for this roster, especially QB Andy Dalton.” ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold said.
Rounding out the bottom of the poll were the Cleveland Browns,, Jacksonville Jaguars and, at No. 32, the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders, who added Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley in the offseason, finished 4-12 last season.
“The Raiders have been through seven head coaches since posting their last winning record in 2002,” noted Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.