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Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Power Rankings: Bears hang on at 13

By Michael C. Wright

Julius Peppers and Matt Ryan
Will Julius Peppers and the Bears move past Matt Ryan and the Falcons in the Power Rankings?
The Chicago Bears remained at No. 13 on ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings for Week 1.

Luckily for the club, though, it gets to prove Sunday against the No. 6 Atlanta Falcons whether the lack of national respect was warranted.

Back on Aug. 9, ESPN released a set of preseason Power Rankings in which the Bears dropped seven spots from where they were in ESPN's final 2010 regular-season rankings.

So at least this time, the Bears didn't fall any further, which could very well have been the case given the contract squabbles this preseason involving linebacker Lance Briggs and running back Matt Forte, and question marks concerning the receivers and offensive line.

In all, 12 teams -- including the No. 1 Packers, Patriots, Falcons, Jets, Chargers, Buccaneers, Bears, Cardinals, Dolphins, 49ers, Broncos, and Bengals -- kept their same spots from the Aug. 9 preseason power rankings. Eight teams -- the Eagles, Saints, Colts, Giants, Chiefs, Seahawks, Browns, and Panthers -- fell at least one spot from the previous rankings, with the Seahawks taking the largest drop from No. 19 in the Aug. rankings to No. 25.

Ten other teams -- including Bears NFC North foes Detroit and Minnesota -- rose in the power rankings. The Vikings moved from 25th to No. 20, while the Lions moved up two spots from No. 18 to 16. The Houston Texans enjoyed the most dramatic rise in the power rankings from 17th on Aug. 9 to No. 11.

The positive aspect of the latest rankings is the fact the teams finally get to prove where they actually fit with the regular season inching closer to kick off.

All we can say is it's about time. It's been long overdue.