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NFL power poll: It's Pats by a mile

1. Patriots (14-2) (1): That’s four seasons of at least 14 wins for Bill Belichick. Is a fourth Super Bowl title with the Patriots next?

2. Steelers (12-4) (5): Steelers trash Browns to clinch No. 2 seed in AFC playoffs. And with Troy Polamalu back in the lineup, they’ll be tough to beat.

3. Saints (11-5) (2): Saints will have to defend their championship the hard way – on the road. They couldn’t overtake the Falcons in the NFC South, but they feel good about their chances.

4. Falcons (13-3) (3): Atlanta sews up the No. 1 seed in the NFC by thrashing the Panthers. Is a rematch with the Saints on the horizon?

5. Ravens (12-4) (4): Baltimore can’t pass Pittsburgh in the AFC North, so it’s on the road for the playoffs. First stop, Kansas City.

6. Eagles (10-6) (8): Eagles rest key starters in meaningless regular season finale against the Cowboys. They’re home to face a surging Packers team in the first round.

7. Bears (11-5) (6): Bears go all-out to beat Packers on the road, but can’t send Green Bay out of the playoffs. Could be a playoff rematch before long.

8. Jets (11-5) (9): Jets backups trounce Bills. Now it’s on to rematch of the AFC Championship Game at Indy.

9. Packers (10-6) (10): Looked dicey a few weeks back, but wins over Giants and Bears clinch wild card spot for Pack. Hot team going into the playoffs.

10. Chiefs (10-6) (7): After blowout loss at home to Raiders, Chiefs prepare to host Ravens. A quick exit for KC?

11. Buccaneers (10-6) (12): Bucs finish off regular season with impressive road win at New Orleans, but they don’t get the help they needed to get into the tournament.

12. Colts (10-6) (11): Colts have to struggle to get by Titans, but do just enough to hang on. Can they duplicate last year’s AFC Championship Game win over the Jets in Round 1?

13. Giants (10-6) (13): Late-season struggles prove fatal in their playoff chase, but Tom Coughlin comes back in 2011.

14. Chargers (9-7) (14): Another slow start to the regular season, followed by key December losses to Oakland and Cincy ruin Bolts’ playoff hopes.

15. Raiders (8-8) (17): Raiders only team to sweep its divisional games this season. Still might not be good enough for Tom Cable to stick as coach.

16. Seahawks (7-9) (25): Seahawks become first team with a losing record to make the playoffs. Could get ugly in wild card round against defending champs.

17. Jaguars (8-8) (16): It’s playoffs or bust for Jack Del Rio in 2011.

18. Rams (7-9) (15): Sam Bradford had a terrific rookie season, but wasn’t ready to beat the Seahawks in a big spot. Still a lot to like about this quarterback and this team moving forward.

19. Cowboys (6-10) (18): Looks like Jason Garrett did enough to get the interim tag removed before long.

20. Titans (6-10) (19): Jeff Fisher awaits his fate.

21. Redskins (6-10) (21): Plenty of questions heading into the off-season, topped by what happens at quarterback next season.

22. Lions (6-10) (22): Lions finish season with three-game winning streak. False hope, or sign of better days ahead?

23. Vikings (6-10) (20): The Brett Favre era is over, but the Leslie Frazier era begins.

24. Dolphins (7-9) (23): Tony Sparano waits to see if he gets the gate.

25. Texans (6-10) (24): Only one winning season in five years on the job, and Gary Kubiak comes back in 2011.

26. 49ers (6-10) (29): Niners would love to grab Jim Harbaugh as their next coach.

27. Cardinals (5-11) (26): Year 1 of the post-Kurt Warner was as bad as the Cardinals had feared.

28. Bengals (4-12) (28): The Chad Ochocinco-Terrell Owens alliance ends with a whimper. So, too, might the Marvin Lewis era.

29. Broncos (4-12) (27): Whoever gets the job as the Broncos coach will have to figure out if Tim Tebow is the real deal. The answer will go a long way toward deciding the team’s future.

30. Bills (4-12) (30): Tough to be a Bills fan these days.

31. Browns (5-11) (31): Eric Mangini’s two-year run is over. Does Mike Holmgren replace him with … Mike Holmgren?

32. Panthers (2-14) (32): Less than four months to the draft. Panthers hoping a franchise quarterback is there at No. 1.

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