NEW YORK -- While Tom Brady cares for his damaged nose, New England Patriots fans can gain comfort from having their team lead the AP Pro32 power rankings.
Thanks to Brady's impressive work at Tennessee, even with a possible broken nose, the Patriots moved into the top spot of the first regular season poll released Tuesday. New England's convincing win and Green Bay's home loss to San Francisco jumbled the rankings at the top. Further down, Washington, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Denver surged thanks to opening victories.
In voting by 12 media members who regularly cover the NFL, the Patriots received eight top selections to earn 378 points, 10 in front of San Francisco. The 49ers moved from fourth to second and earned one first-place vote.
"Business as usual," is how ESPN's Chris Berman explained placing Brady's bunch on top.
"The Patriots looked just OK in the preseason. Not so fast!" said former All-Pro safety John Lynch, now with Fox Sports. "They whooped up on a good Titans team. Brady and the youth-infused defense looked like a team deserving of the No. 1 ranking.
Only Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune selected the 49ers as the best team, reasoning that their showing at Lambeau Field warranted a jump from No. 4.
"People don't want to believe this team can be this good with Alex Smith at quarterback," Pompei said. "Believe it."
Also getting strong support were Baltimore, third with 357 points and two first-place votes, and Houston with 336 and one.
"Ravens show in no uncertain terms how ready they are to get back to the AFC championship game – and perhaps beyond," Newsday's Bob Glauber said. "After honoring the memory of the late Art Modell in a rousing pregame ceremony, Joe Flacco engineers the rout. More where that came from."
And more from the Texans, whose 30-10 demolition of Miami persuaded Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News to vote them No. 1 – even if the Dolphins rank 32nd and last.
"Andre Johnson is healthy. The AFC is in trouble," Gosselin said.
Green Bay rounded out the top five with 326 points.
Making big jumps in the rankings were Washington, up eight spots to No. 16; Tampa Bay, improving from 26th to 19th; Dallas, up six spots to No. 9; and Denver, from 11th to sixth.
"The RG3 show is off and running," said Rich Gannon, the 2002 NFL Most Valuable Player now working for SiriusXM NFL Radio and CBS Sports.
As for the Broncos, NBC Sports' Cris Collinsworth, who called their win over Pittsburgh, saw their improved simply as "Manning and a much improved run defense."
Moving the other way were the defending champion New York Giants, New Orleans and Buffalo.
After the Giants couldn't ride the emotion of unveiling their latest championship hardware and lost the season's kickoff game at home to the Cowboys, they fell seven spots to No. 10.
"They have to find a way to protect their secondary with a better pass rush, as well as their offensive line protecting Eli Manning better," said Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Buffalo was down seven places, too, plummeting to 27th following a 48-28 loss to the Jets, who now rank 15th.
"So much for all the offseason playoff hype," said Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com. "The Bills will be drafting in the top 12 of the first round for the eighth consecutive year if they can't clean up the mess on display last Sunday against the Jets."
New Orleans also had a big drop, from ninth to 14th after a sloppy performance against Washington. One voter wondered why that didn't prompt some further action from the Saints' star quarterback.
"These guys should be – and will be – better than they showed," Clark Judge of CBSSports.com said. "They have too much talent. My question: After what happened, how come Drew Brees doesn't demand an explanation?"
1. New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski against the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
2. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers' Randy Moss (84) is congratulated by quarterback Alex Smith (11) after Moss caught a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) high-fives wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) after Anquan Boldin, not pictured, scored a touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Baltimore, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) and center Matt Birk (77) jog off the field at right.
4. Houston Texans
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates after sacking Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Houston.
5. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews (52) reacts after sacking San Francisco 49ers' Alex Smith during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 30-22.
6. Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to the crowd as he leaves the field following an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Denver. The Broncos won 31-19.
7. Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) and wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrate a touchdown as Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Javier Arenas (21) returns to the bench during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
8. Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.
10. New York Giants
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Denver.
11. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick throws in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Cleveland.
13. Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates his 5-yard touchdow pass to Kevin Smith in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. Detroit won 27-23.
14. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) passes in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
15. New York Jets
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez celebrates with wide receiver Stephen Hill after Hill scored a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.
16. Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
17. San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers linebacker Donald Butler (56) celebrates with defensive tackle Vaughn Martin (92) after sacking Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The Chargers won 22-14.
18. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams (19) celebrates with wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) and running back Doug Martin (22) after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals' Kevin Kolb completes a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 20-16.
21. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Kevin Boss (80) catches a touchdown pass while covered by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
22. Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib (25) during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.
23. Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) is tended to after injuring his left shoulder in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
24. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scrambles against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012,in Glendale, Ariz.
25. Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs against San Diego Chargers linebacker Demorrio Williams (58) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
26. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson celebrates as he run off the field after his team's 26-23 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis.
27. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller scores a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J.
28. St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson (11) celebrates catching a 23-yard touchdown reception with Robert Turner (59) against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. Detroit won 27-23.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, center, celebrates with Michael Brewster, left, Blaine Gabbert (11) and Guy Whimper, right, after making a touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis.
30. Cleveland Browns
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) takes the field for an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Cleveland. Weeden had one of the worst debuts in NFL history, a 5.1 rating. Cleveland's defense forced five turnovers, but couldn't get the one it needed to stop Michael Vick. It added up to another tough loss, but one that showed some promise for a young team.
31. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates a touchdown run by running back Donald Brown against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
32. Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) walks off the field with offensive linemen Jake Long (77), Richie Incognito (68) and Mike Pouncey (51) after being sacked in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Houston. The Texans won 30-10.