NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are back where they have been for so much of the Bill Belichick era.
On top of the NFL.
The Patriots dominated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-21 on Sunday in the much-anticipated matchup between two of the top quarterbacks in the league.
“Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have played a regular season’s worth of games against one another, and Brady owns the rivalry,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.
“He’s now 11-5 all-time against Manning, putting on yet another transcendent performance. Since that Week 4 blowout loss in Kansas City, Brady now has 18 touchdowns and just one interception, and Pats have won five straight.”
The Patriots (7-2) received eight of 12 first-place votes Tuesday for the AP Pro32 power rankings, which are decided by a media panel that regularly covers the league.
“The Patriots quieted a lot of doubters with that performance over Denver,” ESPN’s Herm Edwards said.
The Arizona Cardinals (7-1), tied with the Patriots for the most wins in the league, received the other four first-place votes, but stayed at No. 2 in the poll.
“You can’t run on them, and you can’t hide from the coaching acumen of (Arizona’s) Bruce Arians,” Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune said.
The Broncos (6-2) fell from No. 1 to 3 followed by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions.
The Eagles (6-2) will have to get by without Nick Foles, who is out because of broken clavicle. Former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will make his first start in 23 months under the prime-time lights next Monday night against the Carolina Panthers.
“(Coach) Chip (Kelly) won’t panic with injury to Foles,” NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy said.
The Patriots’ dominating win gives them home-field advantage should they face the Broncos in the playoffs.
“Going to New England in January not good for Broncos,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.
The Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys round out the top 10.
Coming off a dominating win over the New York Giants on Monday night, Andrew Luck has the Colts (5-3) in control in the AFC South.
“Andrew Luck is now squarely in the NFL’s Most Valuable Player conversation,” Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez said.
The Steelers (5-3), who have won three in a row, moved up from No. 13 to 7. Ben Roethlisberger, who has thrown six touchdown passes in each of the past two games, has been a big reason behind the Steelers’ surge.
The Cowboys (6-3) have lost two in a row and have dropped from No. 4 to 10 going into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
“The Cardinals stacked the box to stop DeMarco Murray, and Brandon Weeden couldn’t take advantage,” Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback said.
“The offense hangs in the balance until Tony Romo returns.”
Coming off a bye, the Packers (5-3) trail the Lions by a game in the NFC North and host the rival Bears on Sunday night.
“The Packers need to make up ground on the Lions and will have the chance to do it with four of their next five at home,” Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News said.