The AFC West champion Denver Broncos led the NFL withnine players selected for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
Quarterback Peyton Manning was picked for the 14th time. Joining Manning from the Broncos will be Ryan Clady, Chris Harris, Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, T.J. Ward, and DeMarcus Ware.
The NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys were second with six selections for the Jan. 25 game in Glendale, Ariz., site of the Super Bowl.
Tony Romo will be going for the fourth time. Dez Bryant, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, DeMarco Murray, and Tyron Smith were also honored.
For the second consecutive season, players will be selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin will serve as alumni team captains for their Pro Bowl teams.
Rookie lifts Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are back in the playoffs, and so many of their fans are wondering already whether they'll lose in the first round as usual.
A rookie running back is providing hope that things could, at long last, be different this time around.
The Bengals (10-4-1) are morphing into a very different type of team as they head into the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Instead of relying so much on up-and-down Andy Dalton, they're giving the ball to Jeremy Hill and letting him carry the load.
Hill ran for 147 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown, during a 37-28 home win over Denver on Monday night that sent Cincinnati back into the postseason. It's the kind of approach that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been trying to develop all season.
Panthers' meal ticket
In their quest to become the first team to repeat as NFC South champions, the Carolina Panthers will lean heavily on healthy running back Jonathan Stewart.
Stewart ran for 437 yards and a touchdown in the last four games, helping Carolina vault into first in the NFC South.
The Panthers (6-8-1) will play at Atlanta (6-9) on Sunday, with the winner taking the division title and securing a first-round home game in the playoffs.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, "For him to be at this point in the season and feel healthy like he is is really good for us."
Stewart missed 17 of 32 games the previous two seasons. He finished both seasons on injured reserve while battling ankle and knee injuries.