NFC North: 2013 NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

Power Rankings: No. 18 Detroit Lions

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Lions' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 24 | Last Week: 21 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Can Reggie Bush maintain this level of productivity (191 total yards) weekly? Can the defense continue to force turnovers after producing four Sunday? Were the miscues in the first half of the Lions’ win over Minnesota an aberration or a sign of the future? These are still questions with Detroit. Yet this is the highest the Lions have been in the ESPN.com Power Rankings since Week 11 of last season, when they were 4-5 and starting their eight-game slide to end the regular season.

Detroit is trending up from that collapse and in many ways look like a team capable of pushing up the rankings a bit more in the next few weeks. The Lions have already moved up six spots from their preseason ranking of No. 24. They have shown promise with a young offensive line breaking in three new starters. Add a dominant defensive line and that they won a game with just 37 receiving yards from Calvin Johnson, and there is potential in Detroit.

Power Rankings: No. 21 Minnesota Vikings

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Vikings' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 17 | Last Week: 17 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Vikings slipped four spots this week after a season-opening loss on the road to the Lions, but they could slide even further if they can't quickly remedy some of the issues that developed during the 34-24 defeat. As usual, quarterback Christian Ponder is at the top of the headlines after throwing three interceptions (and botching a handoff with Adrian Peterson that led to a fumble) in the loss, but the Vikings also missed defensive tackle Kevin Williams as they tried to slow down Lions running back Reggie Bush, and Detroit's quick passes neutralized the Vikings' pass rush, which is the strength of their defense.

Heading into Chicago this weekend, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Vikings face a similar game plan to what they saw in Detroit. The Bears will try to use Matt Forte to draw attention away from Brandon Marshall, much as the Lions did with Bush and Calvin Johnson, and Julius Peppers and company could have Ponder once again struggling to make plays under pressure. The Vikings haven't won in Chicago since Peterson was a rookie in 2007, and they'll have their work cut out for them trying to avoid an 0-2 start this weekend.

Power Rankings: No. 9 Chicago Bears

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 14 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

One game in the books and the Chicago Bears earned a spot in the top 10 (No. 9) of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings by virtue of their 24-21 come-from-behind victory over the 10th-ranked Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bears sit just two spots behind the No. 7 Green Bay Packers, which fell 34-28 to the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers.

So while Chicago remains tied for the NFC North lead, with Green Bay deadlocked for last in the division, the Packers are higher in the Power Rankings. The truth, however, is ESPN’s group of panelists put the Bears about right where they need to be in the rankings.

Certainly, the Bears put together a strong performance, but it didn’t come without a few warts (slow start, lack of a strong running game, no pressure from the front four). Coming into the season, the Bears' offense had finished above the bottom 10 in total yards only once in the past 11 years. After the Week 1 victory, Chicago’s offense checks in at No. 20 (323-yard average).

So it appears the arrow is pointing up for the Bears. But undoubtedly for new coach Marc Trestman and his evolving offense, there’s still work to do.

Power Rankings: No. 7 Green Bay Packers

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Packers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 5 | Last Week: 5 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Packers dropped two spots overall but remained fourth in the NFC, which at this point is what really matters. That’s exactly where they were in the NFC hierarchy in last week’s preseason poll. They remain behind San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta.

It’s clear the panel of voters wasn’t overly bothered by the Packers’ 34-28 loss at the 49ers, who moved into the top spot this week. Presumably, the voters liked the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a big day throwing the ball to Jordy Nelson (seven catches for 130 yards and one touchdown) and Randall Cobb (seven catches for 108 yards and one touchdown) and that the Packers were in the game until the end, even leading 28-24 after Eddie Lacy’s 2-yard touchdown run with 8:26 to play.

The voters still view the Packers as the top team in the NFC North. Despite being 0-1, the Packers are ranked ahead of the two 1-0 NFC North teams, Chicago (No. 9) and Detroit (No. 18).

One great thing about our Power Rankings feature is that you can rank the teams yourself. Have at it.

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