NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are one of two teams off to a 4-0 start this season. However, they are alone at the top of the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.
The defending champion Broncos received nine first-place votes for 381 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
The Broncos used their stellar defense to shut down the Buccaneers 27-7 on Sunday.
“Who says old school football doesn’t work anymore?” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “The Broncos are living proof that great defense is still a formula for success. Another transcendent performance against the Bucs, and the Broncos continue to roll early.”
The Minnesota Vikings, the NFL’s other 4-0 team, moved up a spot to No. 2 after beating the New York Giants 24-10 on Monday night. The Vikings received one first-place vote for 367 points.
The New England Patriots, who were tied with the Broncos last week at the top of the poll, dropped to No. 3 after losing 16-0 at home to Buffalo. The Patriots received two first-place votes for 357 points.
The good news for the Patriots is that Tom Brady will return from his “Deflategate” suspension and face the Cleveland Browns in his regular-season debut on Sunday. The Browns are the league’s only winless team.
“Tom Brady is a welcome sight for the Patriots, who were shut out for the first time at home in 23 years,” Glauber said.
“His four-game suspension from Deflategate is over, and now the poor Browns get to face a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder the size of the skyscraper at 345 Park Ave. — the place where (Commissioner) Roger Goodell works.”
The Philadelphia Eagles, the only other unbeaten team in the league, remained after No. 4 after having a bye week.
The Seattle Seahawks moved up a spot to No. 5 after beating the New York Jets 27-17. And the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to No. 6 after routing the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday night.
The Green Bay Packers slipped two spots to No. 7 and will host the New York Giants coming off their bye week.
The Atlanta Falcons jumped from No. 17 to No. 8 after routing Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 48-33.
“A year before heading into their plush new home, the high-scoring Falcons are moving on up, led by revitalized Matt Ryan,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Oakland Raiders went from No. 16 to No. 9 after rallying past the Baltimore Ravens, who dropped to No. 10.
“Khalil Mack said the big road win against the Ravens proved Oakland is a ‘contender,’” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. “They certainly look like a team that is growing into its high expectations.”
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL