NFC North: 2013 NFL Week 3 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Lions’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 24 | Last Week: 18 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Lions stayed exactly the same from the second to third week of the season, and that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Detroit played like a middle-of-the-pack team last week -- and really, the past two weeks, considering the Lions have enjoyed one really strong half of the four they’ve played this season -- and that's why they're at No. 18 right now.

As with many teams residing in the middle of the pack, it is tough to get a gauge for exactly what type of team Detroit is at the moment. Detroit has a chance to make a move up the rankings next week as it heads to No. 24 Washington, a team that has been struggling both offensively and defensively. This is actually a pretty big week for the Lions if they want to make an early-season push up the rankings.

The next two weeks, Detroit faces division rivals Chicago and Green Bay, so beating the struggling Redskins becomes a big deal. Reggie Bush's health will matter here, too.
A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 9 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

No change for the Chicago Bears in this week’s edition of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings, despite the club putting together its second consecutive come-from-behind victory, this time over the 23rd-ranked Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears rank No. 9, three spots behind the No. 6 Green Bay Packers, which defeated the No. 24 Washington Redskins 38-20. It’s interesting how Green Bay's win over a struggling Redskins team moved them up a spot, while the Bears stood pat after a victory over a higher-ranked Vikings team.

But four of ESPN.com’s panelists voted for the Bears to move up, while two actually wanted to move the Bears back a slot or two. The Bears received one sixth-place vote, one seventh, and two No. 8s, but remained at No. 9 because of one 10th-place vote and one 11th.

It’s too early to say whether the Bears should be ranked higher than No. 9. From my vantage point, this spot seems about fair (although they should be higher).

Chicago owns sole possession of first place in the NFC North, yet ranks below the Packers in the Power Rankings. But it’s important to consider Green Bay dropped its Week 1 matchup to the No. 3 San Francisco 49ers.

Power Rankings: No. 5 Green Bay Packers

September, 17, 2013
9/17/13
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A weekly examination of the Packers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking.

Preseason: 5 | Last week: 7 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

It took only one week -- and a convincing 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins -- to get the Packers right back where they started in the preseason Power Rankings. One thing the voters could not ignore, even in the Week 1 loss at San Francisco, was the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense have been explosive. With 66 points in two games, the Packers rank second in the NFL in scoring. Only the Denver Broncos (90 points) have scored more in the first two weeks.

The Packers are only slightly off their scoring pace from 2011, when they averaged 35 points per game and scored a franchise-record 560 points, which remains the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. Through two weeks this season, the Packers lead the NFL in yards per game (482.5) and rank second in passing yards per game (381.5).
A weekly examination of the Vikings' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 17 | Last Week: 21 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Vikings slid another two spots this week after their Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions sent them down four spots in our Power Rankings. It appeared that the Vikings figured some things out in the second half of their 31-30 loss to the Bears on Sunday -- quarterback Christian Ponder went 10-for-16 for 146 yards in the second half, and the defense forced a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers -- but Minnesota is 0-2 because of an inability to finish drives with touchdowns and a handful of defensive breakdowns on the Bears' final drive.

Still, the Vikings' schedule does get a bit easier, beginning with their home opener Sunday against Cleveland. From there, they travel to London to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then get an early bye before another home game against the Carolina Panthers. If the Vikings want to build momentum and turn an 0-2 start into a playoff berth -- as they did in 2008 -- they've got to start this weekend.

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