NEW YORK — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots ended the regular season where they started it.

Being chased by the rest of the NFL.

The Patriots finished the regular season as the No. 1 team in the final AP Pro32 poll on Tuesday, receiving 11 of 12 first-place votes for 381 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Patriots (13-3), tied for the best record in the NFL, will have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

"Can we skip straight to the AFC championship game? I can't wait," said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

"It could prove a better matchup than the Super Bowl."

The Minnesota Vikings (13-3), who were tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, remained at No. 2 with 367 points. The Vikings, who received the remaining first-place vote, have the No. 2 seed in the NFC and have a chance to stay at home throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl which will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4.

"What a remarkable job by coach Mike Zimmer, who wins the NFC North going away with backup Case Keenum and now takes aim at becoming the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium," Newsday's Bob Glauber said.

The Steelers (13-3) slipped a spot to No. 3 in the poll with 365 points and will open the playoffs at home on Jan. 14 in the divisional round.

"Need (Antonio) Brown for the playoffs," Fox Sports' John Czarnecki said of the Steelers star wide receiver who left the loss to the Patriots on Dec. 17 with a calf injury.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles switched places. The Rams moved to No. 4 and the Eagles (13-3) slipped to No. 5.

"The question hanging over the city of Philadelphia right now: Will Nick Foles be enough?" asked Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback. "The last two performances of the regular season were uninspiring, but the Eagles have two weeks to regroup and come up with a game plan to win at home without Carson Wentz."

The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, who will meet Sunday afternoon in the Superdome in the final game of wild-card weekend, remained at No. 6 and 7 respectively.

"The Saints will be hard to beat in the Superdome with that running game," said John Clayton of 710-ESPN Seattle.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons each moved up a spot to No. 8 and 9 respectively.

The Jacksonville Jaguars slipped two spots to No. 10 after losing to the Tennessee Titans, who jumped four spots to No. 11.

The Buffalo Bills, who ended the league's longest streak of consecutive seasons without a postseason appearance when Andy Dalton and the Bengals stunned the Baltimore Ravens 31-27, gained two spots to finish tied with the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 12.

"After ending a 17-year playoff drought, the resourceful Bills travel to Jacksonville feeling giddy and carefree," said Ira Kaufman of SB Nation Radio.


The Associated Press Pro32 NFL Power Rankings, as voted by a 12-member panel, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 1, total points based on 32 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 32nd-place vote, and previous ranking:

 

W

L

T

Pts

Prv

1. New England Patriots (11)

13

3

0

383

1

2. Minnesota Vikings (1)

13

3

0

367

2

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

13

3

0

365

2

4. Los Angeles Rams

11

5

0

340

5

5. Philadelphia Eagles

13

3

0

329

4

6. New Orleans Saints

11

5

0

328

6

7. Carolina Panthers

11

5

0

314

7

8. Kansas City Chiefs

10

6

0

298

9

9. Atlanta Falcons

10

6

0

293

10

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

10

6

0

280

8

11. Tennessee Titans

9

7

0

256

15

12. Buffalo Bills

9

7

0

246

14

12. Los Angeles Chargers

9

7

0

246

13

14. Seattle Seahawks

9

7

0

219

12

15. Baltimore Ravens

9

7

0

218

11

16. Detroit Lions

9

7

0

206

17

17. Dallas Cowboys

9

7

0

195

16

18. Arizona Cardinals

8

8

0

179

19

19. San Francisco 49ers

6

10

0

172

20

20. Washington Redskins

7

9

0

150

18

21. Cincinnati Bengals

7

9

0

147

23

22. Green Bay Packers

7

9

0

134

21

23. Oakland Raiders

6

10

0

117

22

24. Miami Dolphins

6

10

0

106

24

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5

11

0

96

28

26. New York Jets

5

11

0

78

25

27. Chicago Bears

5

11

0

76

27

28. Denver Broncos

5

11

0

75

26

29. Houston Texans

4

12

0

43

29

30. Indianapolis Colts

4

12

0

38

30

31. New York Giants

3

13

0

30

31

32. Cleveland Browns

0

16

0

12

32

___

VOTING PANEL

John Clayton, 710-ESPN Seattle

John Czarnecki, Fox Sports

Tony Dungy, NBC Sports

Bob Glauber, Newsday

Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

Ira Kaufman, SB Nation Radio

Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports

Jeff Legwold, ESPN.com

Alex Marvez, The Sporting News

Jim Miller, SiriusXM

Jenny Vrentas, Monday Morning Quarterback

Charean Williams, Pro Football Talk

Outbrain