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Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Week 1 Power Rankings: NFC North rules

By Kevin Seifert

ESPN.com's weekly Power Rankings debuted Tuesday with this revelation: The NFC North is the most competitive division in football.

That's one way to look at this week's results from our five panelists, whose combined rankings for our teams averaged 12.7. That put the NFC North ahead of the NFC South (13.8 ranking average) and the NFC East (No. 3).

Of course, it helps when you have the No. 1 team in all the land. The Green Bay Packers finished last season as the Super Bowl XLV champions and begin 2011 atop our Week 1 Power Rankings.

Our voters didn't side with my preseason rankings for this division, so for now the Chicago Bears rank ahead of the Detroit Lions. ESPN.com's Mike Sando has a full analysis on the NFC West blog. Here are our filtered rankings:

1. Green Bay Packers
Comment: Only AFC North/East blogger James Walker voted for another team at No. 1. Walker chose the New England Patriots

13. Chicago Bears
Comment: The Bears are viewed with wide discrepancy. NFL columnist Ashley Fox had them No. 9, while AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky ranked them No. 19.

16. Detroit Lions
Comment: Kuharsky was the only voter to have the Lions higher than the Bears. Smart man.

20. Minnesota Vikings
Comment: All five voters had the Vikings fourth in the division.