NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos are off to a perfect start under quarterback Trevor Siemian. The New England Patriots also are 3-0 despite playing without superstar Tom Brady.
The past two Super Bowl winners also share the top spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.
The Patriots received six first-place votes and the Broncos earned five and both have 377 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.
It’s the second consecutive week for a tie at the top spot in the poll. Last week the Patriots and Steelers were tied at No. 1.
The Patriots will play their last game without the suspended Brady when they host the Bills on Sunday.
“The genius of Bill Belichick has the Patriots in early control of the AFC East. As per usual,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
“One more week to go before Tom Brady returns, presumably picks up where he left off and keeps the Jets, Bills and Dolphins spinning their wheels in hopeless pursuit of the perennial AFC East champs and Super Bowl contenders.”
The defending champion Broncos will try to stay unbeaten when they head to Tampa Bay.
The Vikings, who are 3-0 despite injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, received the other first-place vote and are No. 3 in the poll.
“Getting off to a 3-0 start despite losing their franchise QB, once-in-a-generation RB and starting LT in the span of a few weeks is Patriots-esque,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.
“Credit to head coach Mike Zimmer.”
The Eagles, led by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, are also 3-0 and in first place in the NFC East. Philly jumped 11 spots to No. 4 in the poll after routing the Steelers 34-3 on Sunday.
“More popular than Philly cheesesteaks, rookie QB Carson Wentz has already won over a demanding fan base,” said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Packers jumped four spots to round out the top five.
Seattle also made a big leap, moving six spots to No. 6.
AFC North rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied for No. 7. The Chiefs are No. 9 after forcing eight turnovers in a rout of the Jets.
“What a performance by the Chiefs defense, which is still missing Justin Houston but has the league’s next great young cornerback, Marcus Peters,” Vrentas said.
And the Panthers, despite being 1-2 on the season, round out the top 10.
“Cam Newton is getting pummeled in the early going, as the Panthers continue the trend of Super Bowl losers who struggle the year after,” Glauber said.
“Eight sacks, three interceptions and a sore ankle for Newton in a lopsided home loss to the resurgent Vikings.”
After consecutive losses in prime time, the Bears replaced the Browns at the bottom of the poll at No. 32.
“After three demoralizing weeks, Soldier Field is an afterthought compared to Wrigley Field,” Kaufman said.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL