AP Power Rankings: Brady, Patriots are unanimous No. 1

NEW YORK (AP) Once again, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are AFC East champions.

The Patriots won their eighth straight division title with their 16-3 win over Denver.

The Patriots (12-2) have won five games in a row and are closing in on the top seed in the AFC going into the playoffs.

Looking to make another deep postseason run, the Patriots are also the unanimous choice for the top spot in the AP Pro32 poll released on Tuesday.

New England received all 12 first-place votes for 384 points from balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

''Tom Brady is looking more and more like this year's MVP, and the Patriots are punching their ticket to home-field advantage in the AFC and a likely run to Super Bowl 51,'' Newsday's Bob Glauber said.

The Cowboys (12-2) remained No. 2 with 371 points after edging Tampa Bay 26-20 on Sunday. Dak Prescott was 32 of 36 for 279 yards to quiet critics of his recent struggles.

''Dak proves his worth,'' Fox Sports' John Czarnecki said.

The Raiders (11-3) and Chiefs (10-4) switched spots at Nos. 3 and 4. Oakland clinched a playoff spot with its 19-16 win over San Diego. Kansas City lost to Tennessee 19-17.

The next four teams in the poll: the Giants, Seahawks, Steelers and Falcons, each of whom moved up a spot.

Eli Manning and the surging Giants (10-4) are at No. 5 after handling Detroit 17-6 for its seventh win in eight games. The Giants open Week 16 by traveling to Philadelphia to face the Eagles on Thursday night.

''Steve Spagnuolo's suddenly dynamic defense has Giant fans recalling the 2007 and 2011 units that gave Tom Brady fits in the Super Bowl,'' said Ira Kaufman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Seattle (9-4-1) is at No. 6 after clinching the NFC West by pounding Los Angeles 24-3.

Pittsburgh (9-5) moved to No. 7. The Steelers host Baltimore in a key AFC North matchup on Christmas Day.

Atlanta (9-5) inched to No. 8 after routing San Francisco.

The NFC North rounds out the top 10. The Lions (9-5) dropped four spots to No. 9 after the loss to the Giants, and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers jumped two spots to No. 10. The Packers (8-6) have won four in a row to move within a game of the Lions. The teams meet in Week 17 to close the regular season.

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For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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