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Matthew Stafford takes Los Angeles Rams into top 3


The Detroit Lions we knew wouldn’t be very good. The Chicago Bears figured to be below average, too. The Minnesota Vikings looked like a middle-of-the-pack team, mostly because they play the Lions and Bears twice this year.

But the Green Bay Packers were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. The fact that the Packers got absolutely trucked in Week 1 by the New Orleans Saints has me wondering just how good — or bad — the NFC North is.

The North is the only winless division in the NFL one week into the season, with the Lions, Bears, Vikings and Packers losing by a combined 140-74.

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That number is skewed by the Packers’ 38-3 loss to the Saints, but the Lions and Bears both gave up at least 34 points and the Vikings lost in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Not that losing to the Bengals is the shame it used to be; Joe Burrow might have Cincinnati in playoff contention before this season is done. And the Lions and Bears got handled by Super Bowl contenders from the NFL’s toughest division, the NFC West.

Still, heading into Week 2, it looks like we’re in for a good season of football out west — both the NFC and AFC West have four 1-0 teams — and a less-appealing version in middle America (AFC South “contenders” the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts had rough debuts, too).

NFC NORTH PREVIEWS

What to expect from the 2021 Chicago Bears

What to expect from the 2021 Green Bay Packers

What to expect from the 2021 Minnesota Vikings

This week’s power rankings

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

4. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

6. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

7. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

8. Buffalo Bills (0-1)

9. Cleveland Browns (0-1)

10. New Orleans Saints (1-0)

11. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)

12. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)

13. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

14. Baltimore Ravens (0-1)

15. Miami Dolphins (1-0)

16. Tennessee Titans (0-1)

17. Washington Football Team (0-1)

18. New England Patriots (0-1)

19. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

20. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

[ Lions may have a Penei Sewell-Taylor Decker decision to make soon ]

21. Carolina Panthers (1-0)

22. Denver Broncos (1-0)

23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

25. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)

26. Chicago Bears (0-1)

27. Houston Texans (1-0)

28. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

29. Detroit Lions (0-1)

Matthew Stafford smiles as he leaves the field after the Rams' win over the Bears.

Matthew Stafford smiles as he leaves the field after the Rams’ win over the Bears.

30. New York Jets (0-1)

31. New York Giants (0-1)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: NFL power rankings: LA Rams rise, NFC North struggles



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