49ers, Broncos 1-2 in opening AP Pro32 NFL rankings

  • Article by: RICHARD ROSENBLATT , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: August 6, 2013 - 4:25 PM

NEW YORK — Colin Kaepernick has the job from the start this season, and the feeling is the flashy quarterback is more than capable of leading the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl championship.

The 49ers, who came up a few yards short of winning last year's title game, open the preseason as the No. 1 team in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.

"He looks ready to take the next step," Newsday's Bob Glauber said of the third-year quarterback who stepped in for the now departed Alex Smith and went 7-3 in leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

"A lot of losses from last year's roster," noted NBC Sports' Tony Dungy, "but solid in all three phases."

San Francisco's wide receiver spot took a hit with the loss of Michael Crabtree until midseason, but the 49ers filled the void by signing Ravens standout Anquan Boldin. The 49ers also added dependable kicker Phil Dawson in the offseason to replace the inconsistent David Akers and signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

San Francisco received five first-place votes Tuesday from The Associated Press panel of 11 media members who regularly cover the league, and totaled 344 points.

The Denver Broncos, who added standout wide receiver Wes Welker to catch Peyton Manning's passes, are second with four first-place votes and 335 points.

"Welker gives them enough O to overcome injury problems," said Dungy, who voted Denver first and San Francisco second.

"Wes Welker keeps the chain moving and Montee Ball Jr. closes the game in the fourth quarter," summed up ESPN's Herm Edwards.

Receiving one first-place vote each are the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and the Seahawks.

"How do you beat them at home, they have the 12th man?" Edwards asked of Seattle, the team he had No. 1 on his ballot.

The Atlanta Falcons are third with 323 points, one point ahead of Seattle. Rounding out the top 10, Green Bay is fifth, followed by Baltimore, Houston and New England tied at No. 7, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

There are high hopes again in Atlanta. The Falcons turned Matt Ryan into a $100 million quarterback with a contract extension, tight end Tony Gonzalez was lured out of retirement and a top running back was brought in from St. Louis.

"The Falcons have a Super Bowl-ready passing attack. They hope Steven Jackson can give them a Super Bowl-ready rushing attack," Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News said.

Adds Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Falcons should have a huge chip on their shoulder. No one is talking about them."

The Jacksonville Jaguars, one of eight teams with new coaches this season, are ranked last — picked 32nd by six of the voters. A year ago, the Colts started 32nd with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck but made the playoffs and finished 10th — exactly where they start in the preseason rankings.

Kansas City ended up 32nd last year after winning two games. The Chiefs fired their coach, then hired fired Eagles coach Andy Reid and head into the preseason at No. 19.

An updated preseason AP Pro32 NFL power rankings will be released Sept. 3, followed by weekly rankings through the regular season.

___

The voting panel is Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports), Tony Dungy (NBC Sports), Herm Edwards (ESPN), Bob Glauber (Newsday), Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News), Clark Judge (CBSSports.com), Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune), Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM), John Lynch (Fox Sports), Alex Marvez (FoxSports1, SiriusXM NFL Radio), and Charean Williams (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

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Philadelphia - A. Harang 12:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Atlanta - A. Wood 12:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 12:08 PM
Detroit - A. Sanchez
Cleveland - D. Salazar 1:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Cincinnati - H. Bailey 1:15 PM
St. Louis - C. Martinez
San Diego - T. Ross 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Baltimore - C. Tillman 3:05 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Miami - M. Latos 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
LA Angels - C. Wilson 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
NY Yankees - M. Tanaka 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Oakland - J. Hahn 6:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Arizona - R. De La Rosa 8:05 PM
San Francisco - C. Heston
Colorado - J. Lyles 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Texas - C. Lewis 8:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Washington 11:30 AM
Toronto
New Orleans 2:30 PM
Golden State
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 8:30 PM
Houston
Minnesota 2:00 PM
St. Louis
Detroit 2:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Houston 6:00 PM
D.C.
Orlando City 6:30 PM
Columbus
Toronto FC 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Seattle 8:00 PM
Colorado
Vancouver FC 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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