Patriots, Packers open on top of NFL Power Rankings

Scott Cullen
8/23/2012 5:52:52 PM
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The New England Patriots open the season on top of the NFL Power Rankings.

In a league that has been dominated more and more by passing offences, it shouldn't be too surprising to see Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees represented in three of the top four spots.

While the New York Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champs, they open this season ranked seventh, needing more support for Eli Manning if they are going to prove that they can continue to play at the level approaching what they did in the playoffs.

The Houston Texans make a surprising move into the top three, but with a healthy Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson joining a formidable running game, the Texans should have little trouble scoring and their defence should improve as young players mature into more significant roles.

Perhaps the most significant factor to consider in the rankings, as they are updated each week throughout the regular season, is injuries. After all, if a player isn't available to a team, it's not exactly fair to pretend that his contributions are relevant to the team's current value.

Not surprisingly, then, there are teams that are already dealing with injury concerns before the season even gets underway, from the Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten and Miles Austin, to the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson to the San Diego Chargers' Ryan Mathews to the Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher, there are many players whose health is already in question and while most are aiming to be ready for Week One, it won't be a surprise if some aren't ready for the season's first kick-off.

In any case, feel free to weigh in on the rankings and take issue with my evaluations each week. If reasonable people can't disagree over the merits of football teams, what's left?

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