Oh, NFL Power Rankings, how we missed you dispensing your wisdom and opinions about our favorite teams. You rank with such power and opine with such force. We follow your every word and hang on your every rank. Today, you've blessed us with your first proclamations of the 2011 NFL season.
And so it begins, with ESPN's first ranking. Not surprisingly, the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers start out with the top spot and the home town New England Patriots are second on the list from Bristol, CT.
(Connecticut being in New England makes them "home town" for ESPN in case that joke was too complicated. To be fair, it's a fair ranking but it was a joke too bad to pass up.)
The top team in the NFC West is ranked 15th in the league overall. In other words, the NFC West is still predicted to be bad. But as we learned last year, someone has to win the division even it's with a sub-.500 record.
The St. Louis Rams get the "Sam Bradford is the best quarterback in the division bump" and come in first in the NFC West.
Next up is the Seattle Seahawks who rank 19th overall, which seems generous for a Tavaris Jackson led team. Then again, they are the defending division title holders.
The Arizona Cardinals come in third in the NFC West and 21st overall. 21st sounds bad, but it's a bump up for the 28th spot they earned last season with a horrible campaign.
And finally, the San Francisco 49ers have too many questions on offense and on defense and with their aging stadium on the bay to ranking higher than 26th in the National Football League. Can you say, "Andrew Luck"?