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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Post-draft Power Rankings: Packers climb

By Rob Demovsky

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Was it because the voters loved what Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson did in the draft?

Perhaps.

But the more likely reason the Packers were back in the top 10 of the ESPN NFL Power Rankings was the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to be fully healthy this season.

The Packers came in at No. 6 in the first poll of the 2014 season. That's a six-spot improvement from where they finished following their 8-7-1 season that saw Rodgers miss nearly half the year because of a broken left collarbone.

That was the second-biggest jump in the rankings. Only the Atlanta Falcons, who climbed 12 spots to No. 14, made a bigger move.

Two of the other three NFC North teams also are trending upward. The Chicago Bears were at No. 12, up three spots from the end of last season, while the Detroit Lions moved up one spot to No. 20. The Minnesota Vikings fell five spots to No. 29.

Not surprisingly, the Packers' Week 1 opponent, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, came in at No. 1. The Packers also play two other teams in the top 5 -- the No. 4 New England Patriots (on Nov. 30) and at the No. 5 New Orleans Saints (on Oct. 26).