Tuesday, September 4, 2012
NFL Week 1 Power Rankings: NFC North
By Kevin Seifert
They're back! ESPN.com's Week 1 Power Rankings feature one NFC North team at the top (again). We place three times among the top 12 and are ready to take on all comers. A closer look:
1. Green Bay Packers
Comment: Although they outplaced both 2011 Super Bowl teams, the Packers' position isn't unanimous. Like the New England Patriots, the Packers received two first-place votes. But they received two second-place votes and one for third from Ashley Fox. Thanks go to Dan Graziano, whose fifth-place vote for the Patriots gave the Packers the edge. The Packers have rested atop ESPN.com's regular-season Power Rankings since the start of the 2011 season, a span of 19 votes.
9. Chicago Bears
Comment: Most everyone continues to be infatuated with the potential of the Bears' offense and minimally concerned with linebacker Brian Urlacher's left knee. The Bears got two ninth-place votes from our Northwest bureau of John Clayton and Mike Sando (I call them Claydo), while Jamison Hensley was a dissenter with a No. 13.
12. Detroit Lions
Comment: For what it's worth, none of our panelists rated the Lions higher than the Bears. As they say, when in Rome. ... In the end, though, a No. 12 rating means there is consensus the Lions are a playoff team and unlikely to fall off from last season's 10-6 mark.
30. Minnesota Vikings
Comment: Only the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts got less respect than the Vikings, and Clayton went so far as to rank them last among all teams. Fortunately for the Vikings, they open the season at home against the No. 29 Jacksonville Jaguars and then play the No. 32 Colts in Week 2.