GREEN BAY, Wis. – Coming off back-to-back appearances in the NFC Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers are tied for No. 3 in our first Composite Power Rankings of the season.
Most of the Packers’ top players are back from last season, when they posted the best record in the NFC, led the NFL in scoring and Aaron Rodgers won MVP honors.
“As absurd as it might seem on the surface, yes, the reigning NFL MVP is on the hot seat,” Rob Demovsky wrote as part of ESPN’s ratings. “He put himself there -- perhaps unwittingly -- with the way he approached this offseason and essentially tried to leverage control over his future. If he wants this to be his last dance with the Packers, then it would help his legacy to go out a winner. Anything short of a Super Bowl might tarnish his legacy, at least among some Packers loyalists.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and they hold a scant lead in our rankings. The Packers and Buffalo Bills tied for third; Sports Illustrated’s panel of writers had the Packers second. With the addition of star quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams are fifth.
The first half of the season will be key for Green Bay. It will be without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari for at least the first six games of the season and more likely at least the first eight. Green Bay will face only one top-10 team during that span: at No. 8 San Francisco in Week 3. With the second-ranked Chiefs, fifth-ranked Rams, sixth-ranked Browns, seventh-ranked Ravens and 10th-ranked Seahawks on the second-half slate, the Packers can’t afford a slow start.
Here are our rankings:
Bounce-Back Pack: Packers Dominate Second Half, Beat Lions 35-17
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Bill Huber: 1, Tampa Bay; 2, Kansas City; 3, Green Bay; 4, Buffalo; 5, L.A. Rams; 6, Cleveland; 7, San Francisco; 8, Tennessee; 9, Baltimore; 10, L.A. Chargers.
SI.com: 1, Kansas City; 2, Green Bay; 3, Tampa Bay; 4, L.A. Rams; 5, Buffalo; 6, Cleveland; 7, Baltimore; 8, San Francisco; 9, Tennessee; 10, Seattle. Ne, charger, ind, pit
CBS: 1, Tampa Bay; 2, Buffalo; 3, Kansas City; 4, Green Bay; 5, Cleveland; 6, San Francisco; 7, Baltimore; 8, L.A. Rams; 9, Arizona; 10, Tennessee. Ne, ind, wft, dal
NFL.com: 1, Tampa Bay; 2, Kansas City; 3, Buffalo; 4, Green Bay; 5, Baltimore; 6, L.A. Rams; 7, Seattle; 8, Cleveland; 9, San Francisco; 10, Pittsburgh. Ten, lac, ne, mia
ESPN.com: 1, Kansas City; 2, Tampa Bay; 3, Buffalo; 4, Green Bay; 5, L.A. Rams; 6, Baltimore; 7, Cleveland; 8, Seattle; 9, Tennessee; 10, San Francisco.
Associated Press: Debuts next week.
Composite: 1, Tampa Bay (8); 2, Kansas City (9); 3, Green Bay (17); 3, Buffalo (17); 5, L.A. Rams (28); 6, Cleveland (32); 7, Baltimore (34); 8, San Francisco (40); 9, Tennessee (47); 10, Seattle (54).