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PFT’s Preseason Power Rankings No. 1: Green Bay Packers

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The last time a team went 15-1 and failed to win the Super Bowl, that team won the Super Bowl the next year.

Of course, by the time the 2005 Steelers navigated the AFC playoff field from a sixth-seed starting position, their one-loss regular season from the prior year had become a faded memory.

For the Packers, a season of unfulfilled postseason expectations came one year after the Packers pulled off a Super Bowl win starting from the last position in the NFC pecking order.  And the sooner they can forget that one-loss regular season, the better off they’ll be.

Considering what the team has and what the nucleus of the roster has accomplished, the Packers start the 2012 regular season in first place — despite exiting in the quarterfinal round last season.

If the Packers don’t finish with at least a berth in the Super Bowl, it won’t be because they lack the talent.

STRENGTHS.

The Packers have the strongest strength of any team that has a strength of any kind.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the league’s reigning MVP, had a season for the ages (then again, so did Drew Brees).  Rodgers’ full-season passer rating of 122.5 was the highest in league history, with 45 touchdowns passes against only six interceptions.  Four seasons after spending three on the bench, Rodgers has become the best all-around quarterback in football.

He can run when he needs to, throw pretty much whenever he wants to.  With a Super Bowl ring, a Super Bowl MVP trophy, and a league MVP award, Rodgers already has a greater variety of hardware than his predecessor, Brett Favre, who never was a Super Bowl MVP.

The only thing that could slow Rodgers down is injury.  Concussion issues plagued him for part of the 2010 season.  Though he emerged from 2011 unscathed, Rodgers is one solid hit to the noggin away from not being available, possibly for several weeks.

Making Rodgers’ job easier is the fact that he has one of the best top-to-bottom corps of receivers in the league.  From Greg Jennings to Jordy Nelson to Donald Driver to James Jones, Rodgers has plenty of options.  Throw in tight end Jermichael Finley and up-and-coming wideout Randall Cobb, and the Packers have the ingredients to move the chains and score the points each and every week, against whatever the defense puts in their path.

Questions at left tackle overshadow the fact that, from 2008 through 2010, the Packers loaded up the offensive line, with players like right tackle Bryan Bulaga (first round in 2010), left tackle Marshall Newhouse (fifth round in 2010), guard T.J. Lang (fourth round in 2009), and guard Josh Sitton (fourth round in 2008).  Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel believes that, if Newhouse can become a reliable option on the left side, the Packers could have their best offensive line since 2003.  Of course, the Packers also will need center Jeff Saturday to play in Green Bay like he did in Indianapolis, where he went from undrafted free agent to anchor of Peyton Manning’s wall of blockers.

WEAKNESSES.

Statistically, the Green Bay defense finished dead last in the league last season, a fact that makes it a little harder to install the Packers as the top team in the league entering 2012.

But the Packers were still 15-1 and the defense doesn’t need to get much better to push the Packers over the top.  Torched by big plays and limited to only 29 sacks for the season, the Packers need to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

They also need to work on their tackling.

The fact that the Packers devoted their first six draft picks to defensive players proves that the front office realizes the importance of fixing that side of the ball, with first-round linebacker Nick Perry and second-round defensive lineman Jerel Worthy leading the way.

“Obviously, when you have a No. 1 offense and your defense finishes last, there needs to be some improvement, and that’s what we’re trying to address,” linebacker Clay Matthews recently told the Associated Press.

On offense, running back James Starks needs to play like he did during the 2010 postseason.  Or they need to find someone who can.  The fact that Ryan Grant is long gone shows that the Packers view the position as a revolving door of interchangeable parts.   The Packers justify their lone weakness on offense by explaining that they want their running backs to support the passing game, in part by helping protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  (Hell, even the running backs coach, Alex Van Pelt, is a former quarterback and former quarterbacks coach.) But if they could find someone who can become a real weapon, one of the top offenses in the league would become the very best.

The Packers will need their running backs to step up even more if starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffers an injury.  With backup Matt Flynn gone to Seattle, former back-foot chuck-and-duck Air Raid specialist Graham Harrell will be counted on to finally become an NFL quarterback.  And that could get even uglier than his back-foot chuck-and-duck Air Raid throwing motion.

CHANGES.

For an elite team, the Packers are dealing with plenty of transition.  Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin parlayed the Packers’ excellence on offense into a head-coaching job, even though coach Mike McCarthy’s influence and role likely diluted Philbin’s responsibility for the team’s success.  Former quarterbacks coach Tom Clements slides into the job, and the thinking is the Packers won’t miss a beat.

Veteran center Scott Wells jumped to the Rams in free agency; if Jeff Saturday still has gas in the tank, the Packers won’t miss Wells.

The Packers decided to move on from long-time left tackle Chad Clifton.  If Marshall Newhouse can’t get it done, the Packers may wish they had done more to address the fairly important position during free agency or before round seven of the draft.

Running back Ryan Grant once appeared to be on track to have a long career with thousands of yards rushing.  Injuries and ineffectiveness have prompted the Packers to move on; Grant is still looking for a new job.

An influx of defensive rookies could shake up the depth chart, and free agents Philip Merling and Anthony Hargrove (after his eight-game suspension) could provide some needed depth on the defensive line.  Cornerback Charles Woodson will spend plenty of time at safety, something he did last year after Nick Collins suffered what turned out to be a career-ending neck injury.

CAMP BATTLES.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk had a down year.  Kind of.  Maybe.  And that could possibly open the door for others (like D.J. Smith) to cut into Hawk’s reps.

Though Marshall Newhouse enters camp as the starting left tackle, 2011 first-rounder Derek Sherrod could go from Plan B to Plan A, if Sherrod gets healthy and Newhouse gets beaten repeatedly.

The running back position will be a revolving door, but the depth chart needs to be determined.  James Starks is the likely starter; behind him, Du’ane Bennett, Alex Green, Brandon Saine, and Marc Tyler are jockey for positioning.

At receiver, Randall Cobb possibly could pick off James Jones for the fourth spot on the depth chart.  The team’s decision to keep using Cobb as the primary kickoff returner, however, suggests that Jones will stay in the last non-special-teams roster spot at receiver, and that Cobb will be No. 5.

PROSPECTS.

If Aaron Rodgers suffers a serious injury, the Packers will be battling the Vikings for the basement of the NFC North.  If Rodgers stays healthy and the defense improves only slightly, the Packers should once again run away with the division — and they’ll have as good a chance as anyone to run the table to their fifth Super Bowl title and second in three years.

The Packers’ path would be more clear if the team could address some of its more glaring weaknesses.  The goal should be to improve in the trouble spots over the course of the season, and to be ready to go when the playoffs start.

In that regard, the Packers actually could benefit in a roundabout way from a two-to-three week injury absence by Rodgers, since it would force the rest of the team to get the job done without relying on him.

For now, the biggest problem with the Packers seems to be that they have too many eggs in the passing game.  The fact that it powered them to a 15-1 record last year shows that it won’t take much diversification to finish the job in 2012, and perhaps beyond.

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94 Responses to “PFT’s Preseason Power Rankings No. 1: Green Bay Packers”
  1. bucrightoff says: Jul 24, 2012 1:30 PM

    2005 is the only time in recent memory where a team (NE) was considered the top team coming into a season and then proceded to win the Super Bowl. So good news Packer fans?

  2. citizenstrange says: Jul 24, 2012 1:36 PM

    If Aaron Rodgers can carry the league’s worst defense — as in #32 — to a 15-1 record the Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender/favorite every year.

    I predict that the Dom Capers and Packer defense will be at least a top half/16 defense this year and that is more than Rodgers needs to get to the Super Bowl and win.

    And as far as any offensive turnover always remember that quarterbacks put receivers in the Pro Bowl and not the other way around.

  3. gisellichek says: Jul 24, 2012 1:38 PM

    wow… 16-0? 17-0? 18-0? can’t wait… lets get the champagne chilled and the parade route planned out…

  4. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:40 PM

    but but the giants went 9-7. they should be ranked number 1.

  5. bordner says: Jul 24, 2012 1:46 PM

    We never did thank you for making them and keeping them at #1 all season long last year. That worked out well.

  6. textexington says: Jul 24, 2012 1:48 PM

    Greatest sports franchise in the history of mankind your 13 time World Champion Green Bay Packers!!! Eat your hearts out Lavender Larry Fans! LOLZ.Go Pack Go!!!

    P.S. Soon to be Superbowl XLVII Champs:)

  7. justintuckrule says: Jul 24, 2012 1:52 PM

    GB is an indictment on what this league has unfortunately become. What was once the epitomy of team sport has unbelievably morphed into a sport where one player could be the difference in going 15-1 and 1-15. Thanks Rog.

  8. ilongtoascend says: Jul 24, 2012 1:57 PM

    Arguing over Power Rankings is pointless, but how the NYG are anything but #1 going into the season is beyond me.

  9. lostinadd says: Jul 24, 2012 1:59 PM

    I’m as big a Packer fan as is possible, but I just don’t see how the Giants aren’t #1 on this list.

  10. emperorzero says: Jul 24, 2012 2:01 PM

    The defense has to get better (doesn’t it?), but I think the offense for all of its talent will take a step back. For the first 11 weeks of the season, the Packers offense looked like they were playing Madden, but they became pretty human after that.

    Based on talent, I think the Packers are number one, but the defense has to get better and hope someone like Eli Manning doesn’t get hot like he has the two years the Giants have won the Super Bowl.

  11. bigjim50010 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:03 PM

    #1….

    But it is July…

    December is where the money is made.

    but it is nice to be #1

  12. taintedsaints2009 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:03 PM

    if only the vikings would take a note on the success of the packer offense and realize that the running back is a thing of the past. and i can’t believe the vikings haven’t realized the 2 best seasons of their franchise revolved around a successful passing game (98, and 09).

    but no.

    the vikings are getting ready to double down by giving more carries to peterson and gerhart. it’s like a politician saying, ‘we need MORE money to go to Solyndra!’

    i hope the vikings enjoy shaking their heads on the sidelines when they see Rodgers torch them for 60 points at the dome. they always look so pathetic when they feel sorry for themselves.

  13. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:06 PM

    Packers are not the best team in NFL

    Defense is worst in NFL and did nothing to get better for this year.

    Rogers has been awful in 2 of his last 3 playoff games and like Brady, is rattled easily in big games

    Packers have zero running game

    Giants and 49ers defense will both be able to shut that offense down in playoffs. In fact if it weren’t for 2 horrendous blown calls to keep drives alive, Green Bay would not have even scored a TD at home last year against the Giants. Scored should have been like 44-6

  14. philtration says: Jul 24, 2012 2:08 PM

    “Statistically, the Green Bay defense finished dead last in the league last season, a fact that makes it a little harder to install the Packers as the top team in the league entering 2012.”

    Yet you did it anyway.
    When was the last time you saw a team with the worst rated defense be ranked # 1 going into the season even though that did nothing to correct that?

  15. cooklynn17 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:14 PM

    prove it…because if memory serves me right, the packers won just as many playoff games as the raiders, 0. and they were ranked number 1.

  16. CowboyErik says: Jul 24, 2012 2:14 PM

    Defensivly vulnerable, offensively lethal, beat the pack!

  17. packfaninchitown says: Jul 24, 2012 2:22 PM

    Super Bowl Baby! Plus Rodgers gets League and SB MVP #2!

    FEEL IT!

  18. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 24, 2012 2:23 PM

    The Packers don’t seem to do well when expectations are high. If they would have been ranked #12, they might have been able to win a playoff game.

  19. jimthebuilder27 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:25 PM

    May have won the Super Bowl last year if McCupcake hadn’t sat their starters. Genius move, not!

  20. illiniftw says: Jul 24, 2012 2:29 PM

    Once Rodgers gets concussed again this year the Pack are screwed. NFC North will be tough! I could see Bears, Lions, or Pack winning the division depending on injuries, etc.

  21. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Jul 24, 2012 2:32 PM

    The Packers were exposed by the Giants in the divisional round (despite getting help from the zebra’s).

    The 49ers are going to further expose them in week one. The Niner D will contain the Packers offense and put serious heat on Rodgers. Harbaugh’s offense will then play the clock and keepo Rodgers on the bench with a power running game.

    Niners 24, Packers 17. You heard it here first

  22. patsfanvt says: Jul 24, 2012 2:33 PM

    This team reminds of my team but with more overall talent. I’m glad they are in the NFC.

  23. pterodonktyl says: Jul 24, 2012 2:34 PM

    to those who think the giants should be #1 because they beat GB last year…guess what folks anyone can beat anyone in one game in the NFL. if the vikings play the patriots 10 times, the patriots are not going 10-0. NY had a great season, made a great run, played a great game in GB. but in the long run GB is an outright better team. baseball is the only sport where you can get a true and clear sense of how teams stack up against each other, such a massive sample set of games. and even then, underdogs win all the time.

  24. acdc84 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:34 PM

    Wow! They have ONE bad game and they’re suddenly choke-job artists, unable to win when it counts? If they’re one-and-done again this year then fine, let ‘em have it, but I think its a tiny bit premature.

    It’s not like they’re Atlanta!

  25. lionsdraftguy says: Jul 24, 2012 2:41 PM

    Packers are obviously a great team with probably the best QB RIGHT NOW.

    BUT, the NFC North is going to be a tough division and I wouldnt count them as clear favorites to win it, with Chicago and Detroit being a big challenge.

    Id say this ranking is pretty accurate, but the problem is, all the arrogant Niners fans are gonna start whining because they think they are number 1.

  26. bla bla bla says: Jul 24, 2012 2:41 PM

    Some of you keep saying the Packers did nothing to improve the defense, but they did. They did a lot, and they did it in the manner they always do… through the draft.

    Bears and Vikings have tried for years to build via free agency and all they do is sniff the Pack’s heels. Lions have started to draft and build like the Packers and it is clearly paying off.

    Enjoy the fight for last in the NFC Central, Bears and Vikings fans.

  27. birdbrainsnj says: Jul 24, 2012 2:41 PM

    Because the giants are a above average team that got on a roll. They’re not anywhere near the talent of green bay. Remember they barely one the east. Philly was a mess and went 5-1 in the division. With the rest of the east getting better this season don’t expect them to pull another 9-7 miracle.

  28. Broncofanatic7 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:43 PM

    If we learned anything last year, it’s that Defense still wins Championships.
    All of you saying that Rodgers took the 32nd randked defense to a 15-1 record…
    That’s all good and all.. but in the end… Defense wins championships.
    That is why the NY Giants were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
    Last I checked, the big offensive powerhouses (Packers, Saints, Patriots) were sitting in the back seat to the more balanced, and better defensive teams in NY, and San Fran…
    Giants should be #1… they have the rings to prove it.
    This is a Broncos fan talking… unbiased to all those teams….

  29. alskdh says: Jul 24, 2012 2:47 PM

    Also, “the Packers actually could benefit in a roundabout way from a two-to-three week injury absence by Rodgers” — wow?
    You are right, as the #1 team in the preseason rankings, do not have a backup qb.
    Removing Rodgers from the field would from your own, remove — ‘The Strongest Strength of any team with Strength of any kind”
    Let’s just pour on the fandom.

  30. mostlombardisintheleague says: Jul 24, 2012 2:48 PM

    Steelers offense outscored Packers offense 25-24 in the Superbowl, even with 3 turnovers. Pittsburgh’s ground game was blowing through the Packers D like a blow torch through butter. Then Bruce Arians de-railed the game with his usual garbage. When Woodson went out Mike Wallace ran the route for the TD win.
    Very very lucky win.

  31. thehatefulnerd says: Jul 24, 2012 2:52 PM

    Why do people keep saying the Packers “did nothing” to fix their defense?

  32. bullcharger says: Jul 24, 2012 2:54 PM

    bigblue5611 says:Jul 24, 2012 2:06 PM

    Packers are not the best team in NFL

    Defense is worst in NFL and did nothing to get better for this year.

    Rogers has been awful in 2 of his last 3 playoff games and like Brady, is rattled easily in big games

    Packers have zero running game

    Giants and 49ers defense will both be able to shut that offense down in playoffs. In fact if it weren’t for 2 horrendous blown calls to keep drives alive, Green Bay would not have even scored a TD at home last year against the Giants. Scored should have been like 44-6

    ——————–

    I’ll buy some of that, but saying Brady and Rogers get rattled in big games is just dumb. Rodgers has a recent Super Bowl and Brady has won 3 and been to 5 and is tied with Montana for the most playoff wins all time. a few games don’t make them easy to rattle. This is the NFL. It’s hard. Every QB loses some times. Even Montana lost a few NFC championships.

  33. skittlesareyum says: Jul 24, 2012 2:54 PM

    bigblue5611 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 2:06 PM

    Defense is worst in NFL and did nothing to get better for this year.

    That’s why they drafted defense in the first six games?


    Rogers has been awful in 2 of his last 3 playoff games and like Brady, is rattled easily in big games

    Yeah, that’s why Rodgers did so poorly in the Super Bowl.

    I’m fine with you thinking the Packers are too high (I’d have put them at #2 myself), but at least get your facts correct.

  34. philshady25 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:55 PM

    Rodgers last 3 playoff games.. Last year against the Giants (8 dropped passes)

    Super Bowl XLV- MVP

    NFC Championship against Chi. Led us to victory.

    Which 2 was he bad in???

  35. westclaims says: Jul 24, 2012 2:57 PM

    Typical Packers hype, with the usual Rodgers is great tone to it. Boring.

  36. sippindasyzurp says: Jul 24, 2012 3:01 PM

    I don’t know who is going to challenge them in the NFC.. Not the Giants cause they will have a super bowl hangover… Maybe Philly i guess?…

    The offence for GB will take a step back a bit, but the defence will rise up to Top 5 in the league after last year leading to another Super Bowl berth but this time it will be against the Houston Texans.

    You go to remember they had a big reality check last year when the Giants housed them in the playoffs… This team will be scary this year.

  37. jcbadger34 says: Jul 24, 2012 3:01 PM

    philtration says: Jul 24, 2012 2:08 PM

    “Statistically, the Green Bay defense finished dead last in the league last season, a fact that makes it a little harder to install the Packers as the top team in the league entering 2012.”

    Yet you did it anyway.
    When was the last time you saw a team with the worst rated defense be ranked # 1 going into the season even though that did nothing to correct that?
    —————-

    Yeah, they did nothing to correct that……..other than spending pretty much their entire draft on defensive players, and even make a few rare free agent signings on the defensive line.

    Other than that, they did nothing……moron.

  38. 4gone says: Jul 24, 2012 3:01 PM

    Finesse game only got them so far last year. They ran into a Giants team that was much more physical and got beat.
    There defense was last in the league because “they didn’t tackle”. I’m no expert but that is pretty important to defense.
    They play a finesse game and will lose to a more physical opponent if they don’t bring more intensity. The Giants wanted it more and brought much more physicality and it showed. It was embarressing. They need a “set the tone” guy on defense. Clay is showy but not intimidating. Woodson makes some nice plays but is losing a step. The rest of the shirt tackling, non-wrapping up defense needs to bring it for them to deserve this spot.

  39. mp4pack says: Jul 24, 2012 3:02 PM

    As bad as their defense was last year, it won’t take much to improve it drastically, just one pass rusher to draw some attention away from Matthews. Doesn’t have to be anybody great, just somebody opposing offenses have to pay attention to. If out of Nick Perry, Jerrell Worthy, one of the other draft picks, or one of the free agents signed such as Hargrove can step up and be just an average pass rusher, this team will be as unstoppable as they were at the end of 2010.

  40. gobacktocheeseland says: Jul 24, 2012 3:14 PM

    God that Giants playoff game was fun to watch. I have a fealing it will look a lot like their first regular season game this year…

  41. alskdh says: Jul 24, 2012 3:19 PM

    Wow..
    I was afraid this would happen. Using last seasons ‘regular’ record and awards and some fan spirit to make your points, does not appear to make the ‘Pre-season rankings’ anywhere near official. I know you guys mentioned this was mostly for fun, but this is pretty much a simply a fan ranking.

    The packers do NOT just start the season in first place — You can’t just ‘despite’ the last 2 rounds of the playoffs, and ignore the draft and lack of offseason moves, with a few exceptions in an apparent ‘preseason’ ranking. The packers did not have a Great draft or a great offseason. They did get one or two good additions, and drafted OK. Yes they do have great recievers, and offense but The packers had ‘a’ 1st place offense, and ‘a’ last place defense, I can think of atleast one other team in the top 4, with a 1st place offense and last ranked defense, who fixed that with a remarkable draft, in addition many teams in the top picked up new reviewing corps, perhaps better than gb.
    And too many eggs/ recievers as their ‘biggest problem’? Really? In addition, they don’t even have an easier schedule compared to their top 2 competitors.

    And, “the Packers actually could benefit in a roundabout way from a two-to-three week injury absence by Rodgers” – You are right, as the #1 team in the preseason rankings, they don’t even have someone to backup the ‘greatest strength of strengths’

  42. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 3:24 PM

    Packer fans- keep dreaming that all of this years draft picks will have an impact on this season……..comical. Half of them won’t even make the team

    If you’re lucky 1 or 2 will contribute in 2012. And of the FA signings-none are impact players

    So like I said, keep dreaming that your putrid defense will be able to stop anyone. And Woodson is also on the decline

  43. wludford says: Jul 24, 2012 3:27 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I can’t disagree with the Packers being ranked #1. They were ranked #1 all of last season, until they had an off-game against the Giants. Probably more due to not facing any tough tests during the season, combined with too much time off before the game.

    But the Packers are also flying without a net. No back-up worthy QB. Patched up and mediocre OL. Defense, despite the draft picks, also had a couple key veteran losses. Don’t expect rookies to turn things around.

    Overall, the Packers will have much tougher sledding this year, compared to last. 12-4 is the best they can hope for. sub-.500 is possible with an injury to Rodgers. NFC North is tough. Every team will be about as good or better than last year. Particularly the Bears and Vikings.

  44. rodgers4nflmvp says: Jul 24, 2012 3:31 PM

    bigblue5611 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 2:06 PM
    1.) Packers are not the best team in NFL

    2.) Defense is worst in NFL and did nothing to get better for this year.

    3.) Rogers has been awful in 2 of his last 3 playoff games and like Brady, is rattled easily in big games

    4.) Packers have zero running game

    5.) Giants and 49ers defense will both be able to shut that offense down in playoffs. In fact if it weren’t for 2 horrendous blown calls to keep drives alive, Green Bay would not have even scored a TD at home last year against the Giants. Scored should have been like 44-6
    ————————————————-

    Boy big blue you really are a moron. Lets look at your moronic comments one by one.

    1.) no one said the Packers are the best in the league. This is preseason power rankings you idiot

    2.) The D was the worst in the NFL thanks for noticing but what your small mind didn’t catch
    was that the pack drafted almost all for Defense not offense be careful homer you just might eat your words

    3.) So what playoff games was Rodgers awful in besides the NYG VS PACKERS game? Super bowl? NFC Champ game? Division game? I cant wait to hear your childish come back

    4.) last time I checked the NFL is becoming a passing league and not the run anymore even though the Pack has enough of a run game to keep defenses honest.

    5.) You’re already predicting that the 49ers and NYG are going to dismantle the packers before the season already starts. LMAO good job your just proved to everyone on here you’re a giant douche

  45. briank1ne says: Jul 24, 2012 3:33 PM

    I can see it now. Week 2 Power rankings: #1 San Fransisco #2 Greenbay

  46. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jul 24, 2012 3:35 PM

    taintedsaints2009 says:Jul 24, 2012 2:03 PM

    if only the vikings would take a note on the success of the packer offense and realize that the running back is a thing of the past. and i can’t believe the vikings haven’t realized the 2 best seasons of their franchise revolved around a successful passing game (98, and 09).

    but no.

    the vikings are getting ready to double down by giving more carries to peterson and gerhart. it’s like a politician saying, ‘we need MORE money to go to Solyndra!’

    i hope the vikings enjoy shaking their heads on the sidelines when they see Rodgers torch them for 60 points at the dome. they always look so pathetic when they feel sorry for themselves.
    _______

    Nice straw man argument. You play to your strengths. When you have the best running back in the NFL and an inexperienced QB, you’re going to tend to run more. As Ponder improves, they’ll pass more. Now shut up.

  47. tshirttom says: Jul 24, 2012 3:45 PM

    Poor running game, porous defense. Not great balance. You better hope Rogers can stay upright or it’s an 8-8 season.

  48. 91devinhester23 says: Jul 24, 2012 3:56 PM

    yeah right. their defense is still the same steaming turd, and this year reminded us once again defense wins championships.

    They’ll have a good regular season and get discount double checked in the playoffs again

  49. vincelombardisghost says: Jul 24, 2012 4:00 PM

    Watched the HBO special on me again last week. Damn, my Packers were great. That’s because we controlled both the offensive and defensives lines of scrimmage. That’s where football begins and ends. Looking down from heaven, I must admit the current Packers sure are fun to watch. Love that A Rod kid. They’re D will be better this and I have a side bet with God that the Pack will not go undefeated. He’s never wrong so I think I got suckered into a bet I’m going to lose! Sincerely, Vince.

  50. electionconfidential says: Jul 24, 2012 4:01 PM

    The best offensive performance GB had last year was in the game Rodgers didn’t play.

    GB finished the year looking quite a bit worse than they looked starting the year. They’ve lost the backup quarterback and their offensive coordinator.

    There is no real mention here of HOW they plan to become something other than the worst defense in the league and their inter-divisional competition appears to have improved, especially in Chicago.

    I think the number one position should have gone to the Giants who beat the Pack solidly in the playoffs by virtue of fielding a strong offense AND a strong defense.

    This was a bad pick for number one. I could see them at number four.

  51. judsonjr says: Jul 24, 2012 4:16 PM

    I love how the Giants “exposed” the Packers offense. The main thing they did was force turnovers, that with dropped passes is what killed the Packers O.

    Likewise, Eli Manning was great the 1st two drives and did nothing after that. He did skillfully craft a hail mary and then made that gritty 4 yard TD drive to lock up the game I guess.

    We all know ranking is irrelevant. Really all you have to do is make the playoffs. If you play well and get some breaks you can win the Super Bowl.

    And even getting to the playoffs is usually a bit of luck. The good teams in the league would probably average 10 wins if the season was played a thousand times. However in a given year, that team might win as many as 14 or as few as 6 just based on injuries, good/bad breaks, a few bad calls, etc.

  52. bluefan204 says: Jul 24, 2012 4:17 PM

    The Giants beat the #1 and #2 teams on this list on their way to another Super Bowl, but because of the GB hype over 15-1(where did that get them, by the way?) and the eternal Brady/Pats slobberfest that will never go away, the Super Bowl Champions have been relegated to #3.

    These lists don’t mean anything, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t completely laughable most of the time.

  53. imsmarterthanyou says: Jul 24, 2012 5:08 PM

    Most overrated team in NFL history. Their offense hit on all cylinders during the regular season, last year. Their D was as bad as it could be. There’s no way they are the #1 team in the NFL based on that. You can’t be #1 with the worst D. Simple. They were the worst 15-1 team I’ve ever seen and they’re still faking people out.

    I expect their D to improve, but it won’t go from worst to first. I think they’ll be middle ground. I expect their offense to come back to earth some because defenses know what to expect and they didn’t add anyone to get better. Their complete lack of a running game along with their mediocre o-line make them susceptible to blitzes. In their division, they could finish third.

    The defending Super Bowl champs are 3rd behind two teams that they beat. Makes complete sense. Good list.

  54. glac1 says: Jul 24, 2012 5:23 PM

    It should be another fun year!

  55. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 5:38 PM

    giants fans quit complaining. until your team proves that it can put together a great regular season and playoffs in the same year, no one will respect you. do yu really think the 2007/2011 giants measure up to the great niners teams of the 80s, pats team from the early 2000s, cowboys from the 90s or packers of the 60s? the only giant team worthy of consideration is the 86′ team.

    86′ – one of the all time great squads

    90′ – wide right

    07′ – tyree

    11′ – welker/ manningham

  56. 44kyle says: Jul 24, 2012 5:41 PM

    Where’s the ring?

  57. dwhitehurst says: Jul 24, 2012 7:46 PM

    IF Rodgers stays healthy and IF their Pass Defense improves, then yes, the Packers have a chance at the Lombardi. Nevertheless, given those uncertainties, especially on how much the defense will improve, I wouldn’t put the Packers any higher than #2 at this point, and most realistically at #3, behind the 49ers at #1 and the Giants at #2.

  58. neauxgeaux44 says: Jul 24, 2012 8:13 PM

    B-Packers have no chance this year against the Saints….back to your boring Midwest town and life…..

  59. bigblu73 says: Jul 24, 2012 8:37 PM

    DEFENSE WINS!!! In the immortal words of Bart Scott, Packers “DEFENSE COULDN’T STOP A NOSE BLEED”!!! Yet an established site such as PFT ranks them #1??? That’s what I call straight up nonsense!!! How could the team with the 32nd ranked defense be considered the top power ranked team? It is nonsensical and bush league to say the least! I don’t care how great of an offense or QB play a T.E.A.M. Possess’ during the regular season!!! LEGENDS ARE MADE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! Nobody will care that the ’07 Pats went 17-1, all that will be remembered is the GMEN Superbowl Victory!!! Nobody cares about the Packers 15-1 record all I remember is BIG BLUE WRECKIN CREW goin up to Lambeau and puttin the SMACK DOWN!!! SO YEA, WE WERE 9-7 IN THE REGULAR SEASON BUT, WE WERE 4-0 IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! YOU KNOW THE PART OF THE SEASON THAT GETS UR TEAM A RING AND A LOMBARDI!!!!

  60. nygf says: Jul 24, 2012 8:40 PM

    That’s fine, the Florios of the world can keep ‘em at #1. It’ll last all the way until Eli and the Giants come into Lambeau and say “Who’s your daddy?” for the 3rd time in 6 years.

  61. binkystevens says: Jul 24, 2012 9:19 PM

    I get that it’s mostly semantics, but the Packers’ defense was not “dead last” in the NFL. They were #19 in pts allowed, which is the only stat that matters. I could not care less about yards allowed – what do you expect opposing teams to do when they’re trailing by 3 scores? Throw the ball downfield. Hence the high yardage, but also highest interceptions in the league.

    But anyway, that defense still needs to get back to its league leading form of 2010.

  62. turkish124 says: Jul 24, 2012 10:31 PM

    Can you please post a full list of the power rankings with the links?

  63. bkostela says: Jul 24, 2012 11:28 PM

    thegronk87 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 5:38 PM
    giants fans quit complaining. until your team proves that it can put together a great regular season and playoffs in the same year, no one will respect you. do yu really think the 2007/2011 giants measure up to the great niners teams of the 80s, pats team from the early 2000s, cowboys from the 90s or packers of the 60s? the only giant team worthy of consideration is the 86′ team.

    86′ – one of the all time great squads

    90′ – wide right

    07′ – tyree

    11′ – welker/ manningham

    ———————————————

    Though you’re right about the last two giants teams, the 1990 team was one of the three powerhouses in the NFL that year (the other two being SF and Buffalo). Just because Norwood missed a 47 yard field goal (he was 0-5 in his career on kicks over 40 yards on grass fields up to that point) doesn’t mean the giants lucked into winning that game. In fact, they set a SB record for time of possession. They also won the game with their backup quarterback.

  64. rikker12 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:33 PM

    People…This is 2012 PRESEASON rankings. Not the end of last seasons rankings…. The Giants (Lucky Catch #2) super bowl is in the past. I think these ranking are pretty accurate. This is a new season, with changes made to all of the teams, its just a matter who made the best.

  65. thegronk87 says: Jul 25, 2012 5:31 AM

    alll that matters is that if you have a team in the top 10 it means you have a shot to wn it all. every year it seems that the giants fans and players cmplain about being “disrespected” by the preaseason rankings. what do you expect if you barely sqeak into the playoffs? giants have to put up in both the regular seasn and playoffs to show they are a great team.

  66. RedRuffensor says: Jul 25, 2012 6:03 AM

    Rodgers is a top-flight QB and the Packer passing attack is great. But, defensive coordinators are not stupid and they’ll be better able to somewhat slow down the Packer passing attack this year, I think. That leaves the Packer defense, which was terrible last year. The pass-rushing was pitifully bad and that exposed the weak secondary. The secondary is not in good shape either, with Collins (the key guy) gone and Woodson’s pass-covering skills having deteriorated badly. Unless the Packer pass-rushing greatly improves (which is highly unlikely, in the near term), it is going to be another long year for the Packer defense. So, the bottom line is that the Packer offense will likely lead the team to win the NFC North, but the Packer defense will be lousy again and that will lead to a quick exit in the playoffs. Thus, the Packers should not be ranked #1. That distinction should go to a team with great talent on both sides of the ball.

  67. guypatsfan says: Jul 25, 2012 6:37 AM

    Hey Packer fans, see you in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII, Feb.3, 2013. The two best teams in the league will finally settle it!

    GO PATS!

  68. discosucs2005 says: Jul 25, 2012 7:35 AM

    Packers are the best team, Rodgers is fantastic, ect, ect.

    But Dom Capers is a joke. The guy is glorified Gregg Williams. I know a lot of Packer fans love him, but he’s holding them back. The Packers have talented players on defense, quite a few, but Capers fails to do anything with them. His one stat is turnovers, but this is heavily inflated by the fact that the Packers had a lot of leads lsat year, and don’t possess the ball for very long during possessions.

    I don’t know anyone who would take the Giants over the Packers for regular season rankings. The Giants finished 9-7 and Coughlin teams always take two steps back.

  69. sevensixtwonato says: Jul 25, 2012 8:23 AM

    neauxgeaux44 says:Jul 24, 2012 8:13 PM

    B-Packers have no chance this year against the Saints….back to your boring Midwest town and life…..
    ———————————————————-

    I can’t believe I am defending Green Bay but….Dude really? Your head coach gone, his replacement gone for the first part of the season as well. They will be good, 10-6 good probably, but they are not in my opinion in a position to make a run deep into the post season.

  70. buckybadger says: Jul 25, 2012 9:09 AM

    I am a Packer fan and I would have put the Giants as first. Until the Packers and Patriots can prove they can stop that pass rush of theirs they are the best team. I would have the Packers second and Pats third but this isn’t my site.

    The Packers are of course SB contenders and will be for the next several years. Rodgers is simply amazing with how he takes care of the ball yet can still sling it around. Only 6 INTs with 4 being his fault and no dropped interceptions. He has only thrown like 2 in his career in the red zone. After years of Favre I can’t tell you how nice this is. [Loved Favre to but I scream dirty things in front of children at the TV far less now].

  71. axespray says: Jul 25, 2012 9:24 AM

    lol at calling Dom Capers overrated… Dude has only had Woodson/Matthews/Bishop and a bunch of no name undrafted/7th rounders last year and the Defense was still able to generate turnovers and make game winning stops against teams like the Saints/Chargers.

    Guy coached up a injury riddled unit to a superbowl championship defense…

    Now that Ted finally loaded up and got some actual difference makers for Dom to use, I wouldn’t be suprised to see our Defense rise to the top ten in rankings.

  72. gregm5s7 says: Jul 25, 2012 2:16 PM

    The Packers defense last year was an anomaly, greatly due to losing one of the best safeties in the league Nick Collins to a career-ending injury.

    They were 32nd in yardage, but 19th in points allowed.

    In 2010 they were 5th for yardage, 2nd for points allowed.

    Important stat: 2011 Points Differential: +201, 2nd to New Orleans at +208.

    Another important stat: with Aaron Rodgers on your team you can beat anybody.

  73. Wisconsin77 says: Jul 25, 2012 6:22 PM

    “He can run when he needs to, throw pretty much whenever he wants to. With a Super Bowl ring, a Super Bowl MVP trophy, and a league MVP award, Rodgers already has a greater variety of hardware than his predecessor, Brett Favre, who never was a Super Bowl MVP.”

    3 TDs in the first half by Favre in the Superbowl pretty much sealed the win. If it wasn’t for the greatest special teams performance of all time, everybody knows that SB MVP was Favres. Just proves how meaningless that award is. Heck, didn’t a no name Dallas CB get it over Aikman, Emmit Smith, and Irving one year?

  74. Wisconsin77 says: Jul 25, 2012 6:24 PM

    “Another important stat: with Aaron Rodgers on your team you can beat anybody.”

    Except the Giants at home in the playoffs.

  75. Wisconsin77 says: Jul 25, 2012 6:26 PM

    “If Aaron Rodgers can carry the league’s worst defense — as in #32″

    How is a defense that lead the league in turnovers the league’s worst? You are cherry picking a single stat that was ranked 32nd, and using it to call the overall defense the leagues worst, which it wasn’t overall. Not even close.

  76. giantsny says: Jul 26, 2012 8:29 AM

    The best team win when it count.end of the story

  77. 13champlain says: Jul 26, 2012 8:41 AM

    Really looking forward to the Houston v. Green Bay game.

  78. bosspower says: Jul 26, 2012 7:54 PM

    Packers number one? Ok good in preseason they can have it. The Giants will smoke the Packers again this Yr. The Giants were Decimated by injuries and still won the Super Bowl. If U think a healthy Tuck, Osi, and Pierre -Paul will go 9-7 again this Yr after having Brady running for his life last Yr on the biggest stage U are crazy. Home field advantage Pack? U kno wat the Giants do in Lambeau in Postseason. Remeber Brett Farve, and Last Yr Aaron Rodgers we have U boys numbers and hope U go 15-1 again so we can come up there and Whoop up on U boys and take all the Cheese and make NY Cheesecakes. LMAO!!!!!!!

  79. tdrover81 says: Jul 27, 2012 12:04 PM

    Really….The Giants??? Do you people watch football? The Giants would have lost that game against the Packers if any of the WRs would have caught the damn ball.

    As for the SF game, they should have lost that one too. If it weren’t for a certain greedy SF Safety, the SF CBs would have picked Manning off twice. Also, two muffed punts by the back-up punt returner sealed the deal.

    There was nothing special about the Giants or Manning last year. They were lucky they did not have to face Brees in New Orleans. Kudos to them as they took advantage of the mistakes of others, but I guarantee you…..the Packers and the rest of the NFC will not take them lightly this year.

    The top two teams on this list are correct and only an amateur football fan would question that. The only change I would have made in the top 3 is to put New Orleans there at 3 and take New York out. The Giants should sit somewhere between 6 and 10 if you ask me.

    How can you argue that the Packers, the Patriots and the Saints are not the top 3? They have the three best QBs in football!

  80. sakatak says: Jul 29, 2012 8:34 PM

    Alright Giant fans, Super Bowl winning Giant fans. How would you like it if your team went 15-1 this year and lost in the playoffs? Do you think the Giants are good enough to run the table? As it stands right now, the Packers and Patriots have the most talent to make a run at an undefeated season, maybe someone else will step up but the smart money is on the Packers and Patriots. Eli Manning is no Rodgers or Brady.

  81. therealbobjenkins says: Jul 30, 2012 3:01 AM

    if Eli isn’t of Brady or Rodgers ilk, why is he undefeated against them in the postseason?

    last year, there were only 2 teams in the league with 2 receivers that garnered over 1,000 yards. they were the Patriots and the Giants, and yes, the Packers have a talented receiver corps, but honestly, the Giants group is maybe a slight notch below if not equal. the difference is QB, and yes Rodgers may have more tools in his arsenal than Eli, but whatever Manning lacks in ability, he makes up for with his mental toughness. statistically, he may go down as the best 4th quarter QB of all time, and that is FACT.

    the year after the Giants won in 07, the Giants were the best team in the NFC (12-4) and lost to the Eagles in round 1. so yes, as a Giants fan, i know what its like to ride high all year long and end up with your face in the mud.

    many Giants players like Justin Tuck admit that they were too immature to handle having the target on their back (ie: Plax), but they refocused and what do you know, won a second Super Bowl, which the Packers OR Saints have been unable to do.

    if the offenses are equal, then the defense AND the special teams are the answer to this question. there are 3 Pro Bowl DE’s on the NYG front line. 1st round draft picks litter a secondary that always plays better at the end of the year. and the Giants beat the Cowboys to win the division with a blocked FG and won the NFC Championship with 2 fumble recoveries on punts.

    and of course, i’m a Giants fan, and i’m biased, but the Ravens and the 49ers are more complete teams than the Packers, Saints, or Patriots right now. if Flacco or Smith have a career year (which for them, isn’t approaching Rodgers or Brees numbers), you’re looking at the two Super Bowl participants.

  82. NJJohn says: Jul 30, 2012 11:08 AM

    but we keep hearing how the Giants would have lost if the packer receivers hadn’t dropped all those passes or if Rodgers didn’t fumble, and if the defense didn’t play horribly. If your players are doing that in the playoffs, how can you possibly say they you are the best team in the NFL?

    If eli threw three picks in that game and lost, do you think everyone would be saying “well, the packers got lucky that Eli through INTs”

    I know the Giants aren’t the best team in the NFL, but I think they’re the best. I just try to do it without being delusional.

  83. sakatak says: Jul 30, 2012 6:13 PM

    Judge a QB by the body of his work, not by 1 or 2 games, I have seen enough of Eli, Rodgers and Brady to judge them over a number of seasons. I know who I would want quarterbacking my team, as a Giants fan you might think Eli is as consistent as Brady and Rodgers, if you do you are delusional. Last year the Packers beat the Giants once and lost to the Giants once, I would judge the two teams on how they fared the rest of the season and maybe look at the year before to see if they are showing improvement from year to year.

  84. countyk66ers says: Jul 30, 2012 10:17 PM

    The Giants were ranked 27th last year in defense that would hardly qualify as a great defense according to the stat guys but they won the Super Bowl and deserved it. Go figyah.

    The Packers were short handed on the D line last year so Capers took a bend but don’t break philosophy. they gave up a lot of yards but led the league in interceptions. Several games were won by the defense taking it to the house on an interception. They were not the worst defense in the league.

    If McCarthy takes the ball instead of deferring against the Chiefs and the Giants the defense isn’t worn down to start the game and they win both of those games. That was not smart.

  85. kscogg says: Jul 31, 2012 12:44 PM

    Everyone somehow forgets just how bad the Pats defense was but they made it to the SuperBowl and they are hot favorites as well.

    Even if the Packers haven’t improved their defense, that offense is still a juggernaut so having them ranked high is fair.

    All of you crying about the Giants not being number 1, thats just laughable. They limped in to the playoffs, they didn’t dominate like the Pack.

  86. NJJohn says: Jul 31, 2012 1:20 PM

    I think most people here are saying the Packers SHOULDN’T be No. 1.

    And also that fans should stop giving the same excuses for their team losing that 12-year-olds give when they lose.

    Unless of course you are 12 (or around there), then carry on.

  87. brooklynniner19 says: Aug 3, 2012 8:36 AM

    I guess we will be naming San Fran #1 after week 1. Gbay has no running game and the secondary is garbage. Moss and Vernon will have a field day this match up week 1. Cant wait, go 9ers!

  88. pauliepennino says: Aug 4, 2012 2:16 PM

    San Fran has no offense…Alex Smith is still Alex Smith. The only thing he has on Rodgers is draft position. Randy Moss…once a quitter ALWAYS a quitter. Vernon Davis will get his clock cleaned by Matthews, and if need, Woodson at safety. Don’t need a running game when your QB is better than any in the league…by a mile.

  89. dallasgoon says: Aug 8, 2012 9:03 AM

    What I find amazing is how these writers talk up certain QBs so much, about how great and awesome and unstoppable they are. A lot to do with that is the watering down of the defense. QBs don’t have fear anymore. They don’t have to worry about getting crushed on every play. Even when the hits are clean, if there’s the slightest hint or appearance of brutality, the ref throws a flag. WRs can’t be touched, either, so defenses are at high risk for penalties depending on the mood of the refs.

    Like anyone else, I like to watch the chess match between offenses and defenses every week. The thing is, the rules are becoming so swayed towards offense, that the defense are playing with their hands tied.

    Funny how everyone ripped the Pro Bowl for its lack of defense, but loves it when there are five QBs throwing for 5,000 yards and another half dozen throwing or 4,000 during the season.

  90. titletownphipsi says: Aug 9, 2012 7:33 PM

    GO PACK GO BEST TEAM BY FAR!! The Giants won the playoff game, but its because the Packers beat themselves. Now with a 15-1 team coming back disappointed, and hungry. The Packers had to play their worst possible game and the giants played above and beyond themselves to even have a chance. So watch the Packers take Lombardi back home where he belongs this season.

  91. wes2760 says: Aug 10, 2012 9:28 AM

    Boy all you Packer fans really are delusional I am a die hard Vikes fan but at least I can admit that last year we sucked and this year we will be better but I do not see us making the playoffs this year either. You Packer fans cannot admit that YOUR DEFENSE SUCKS 27th in the league in passing defense 23rd in the league in run defense Geesh they cannot stop anybody from doing anything all they rely on is outscoring everybody. Well that is only going to carry you for so long and don’t count on those draft picks to help you on defense they were not that great. The 49er’s are the best team in the NFL right now and they did make some significant moves in the offseason to insure they do not have another close playoff game where a butterfingered return man cost them a trip to the Superbowl where I truly beleive they would have won they are SCARY and as a Vikes fan that is sad

  92. larryjames836 says: Aug 12, 2012 12:04 AM

    There’s only two great teams in the NFL that is the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. So Green Bay Packers yes the 49er’s knows that their luck was on in 2011 and we the New Orleans Saints hope they enjoyed the win. They will never win again not on us we looking for Green Bay Packers the people’s team we don’t need a pat on the back we know what we can do. With or without our Head Coach we going to do our job, as we always do so come to play ball yes we had a bad offseason but it’s all good because the Super Bowl is our to enjoy and put a smile on our owner, head coaches, general manager, fanbase, most of all our players face this is our focus in 2013.

  93. bleedgreen says: Aug 15, 2012 11:09 PM

    I’m not trying to be a pedant here, but EVERY player in the NFL is one solid noggin hit away from being unavailable for a few weeks or more. I don’t think you can knock Rogers for that because even someone who has NEVER had a concussion can get rocked ONE time and be out for months, or someone thats had 3 can be out and back in a week and a half.

  94. meytonpanning says: Aug 21, 2012 10:22 AM

    Why I think Chicago will win the division over GB:

    1) Cutler is underrated. Last year he had almost no targets. This year he has Marshall and Jeffery.

    2) Addition of targets will open up more passing lanes, thus opening up more running lanes for Forte and Bush.

    3) Chicago has a better defense.

    I think they’ll win division by 1 game though. GB will come second, Detroit third, and Vikings last.

    It will be one of the toughest, highest scoring divisions in the NFL for sure.

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