While more media outlets than just ESPN love to release power rankings at every available juncture, the worldwide leader certainly does so with more gusto than anyone else. Mere days after the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft, ESPN has released the first incarnation of their 2014 weekly team rankings.
The four highest ranked teams -- Seahawks, Broncos, 49ers, and Patriots -- all played in their conference's championship game, making their inclusion at the top hardly a surprise. Directly following are the New Orleans Saints who have invested heavily through free agency and the draft in competing this season.
Those five franchises are the only ones ESPN ranked ahead of the Packers.
"The Packers were the only team in the league without an interception by a safety last year. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will fix that this year."
Drafting Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix certainly helps Green Bay solve its most glaring problem on defense from last year. Similarly, the addition of three wide receivers in the draft -- Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, and Jeff Janis -- not only alleviates concerns stemming the loss of James Jones and Jermichael Finley, but they perhaps improve the passing game altogether.
However, the real "X factor" for the Packers is returning to health. No addition made this offseason impacts the team more than a full season of Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. While the former is more likely than the latter, the Packers are a double-digit win team if either plays just a few more games in 2013. With both now healthy and the roster around them improved, it could be a special year in Green Bay.