Worth the wait: Steelers keep top spot in AP Pro32 poll

Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) greets Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) after an NFL football game Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 19-14. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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NEW YORK (AP) — For the Pittsburgh Steelers, getting to 11-0 was worth the wait.

The Steelers, off to their best start in franchise history, beat their bitter AFC North rivals Ravens 19-14 on Wednesday in a game moved three times because of a COVID-19 outbreak that left Baltimore short-handed.

The Steelers maintained their top spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll.

Pittsburgh received eight of the 12 first-place votes for 380 points in balloting Thursday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

And all that schedule juggling will affect the Steelers’ quest to stay perfect as their home game against Washington in Week 13 was pushed a day to Monday.

“Mike Tomlin sounded as if the Steelers had actually lost their first game of the year after a mediocre performance in a 19-14 win over the Ravens, but the bar is set high for an 11-0 team,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said. “But Pittsburgh can’t afford any missteps with Kansas City still in position for the No. 1 seed.”

The Chiefs remained at No. 2 after holding off Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs earned the remaining four first-place votes for 376 points.

“The Chiefs and Steelers still seem headed toward a meeting in the AFC championship game, but there’s a long way to go before then, and a lot of things can happen, especially in this weird year,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

And the Buccaneers will enter their bye week as they stay at No. 10.

“Tom Brady is taking all the heat, but let’s not forget Tampa Bay’s defense is just as responsible if not more so for the Bucs losing three of their past four games,” said Alex Marvez of Sirius XM. “Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans all scored at least 27 points and averaged 459 yards of total offense.”

And despite playing without Drew Brees for the second consecutive week, the Saints stayed at No. 3 as they cruised past the quarterback-challenged Denver Broncos 31-3 for their eighth consecutive win.

The Green Bay Packers moved up two spots to No. 4 after routing the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

The AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills remained at No. 5. The Bills will be in prime time this week as they head west to play the San Francisco 49ers, except this game will be played in Glendale, Arizona, the home of the Cardinals, because of coronavirus restrictions in the Bay Area. It’s the second time the Bills will be playing at State Farm Stadium after they lost 32-30 last month on the “ Hail Murray ” play. It’s the first of three prime-time games scheduled for the Bills this month.

The Seattle Seahawks remained at No. 6 after topping the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night and will host the New York teams, the Giants and Jets, in the next two weeks.

The Tennessee Titans moved up two spots to No. 7 after handling the Indianapolis Colts to take sole possession of the lead in the AFC South. The Colts slipped three spots to No. 9.

After losing to the 49ers, the Rams dropped four places to No. 8. The Rams will head to Arizona and face the Cardinals in a key game in the NFC playoff race.

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