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Packers No. 1 In Fan Rankings

I don't know when this was posted, but the Green Bay Packers are No. 1 in the fan rankings. That's not terribly surprising since they're coming off a Super Bowl victory, and they were a very good team statistically anyway (ranked No. 3 during the regular season by Football Outsiders). I was more interested when looking around at the rankings for the rest of the NFC North.

Bears. Experts No. 13, Fans No. 10. Really? Didn't they just host the NFC Championship game? Obviously I'm no fan of their team, but they just had a great season and drafted two really good players with their 1st and 2nd round picks. They won't get helped by the new special team rules, but statistically their defense is nearly as good as the Packers (according to Football Outsiders). After watching the Packers play late season games against the Bears, Eagles, Giants, and Falcons, I'd put the Bears defense ahead of those other three teams. Their offense ranked lousy, but part of that was due to some disastrous appearances from backup QB Todd Collins, and the addition of Gabe Carimi is a huge boost to their bad offensive line. They should be ranked higher.

Lions. Experts No. 14, Fans No. 17. They're much improved, and they have a great defensive line. But I'm not a believer in Matthew Stafford, but they'll deserve this ranking only if he's a healthy, franchise QB next season. Their secondary and linebackers have some promising players, but no one who's really good. Maybe WR Titus Young or RB Mikel Leshoure will become impact players, but I'm not expecting it, and only WR Calvin Johnson is a player to fear on their offense. They should be ranked lower.

Vikings. Experts No. 24, Fans No. 19. I blame their low ranking on uncertainty at the quarterback position. Is Christian Ponder really the guy? But otherwise, should they be ranked several spots behind the Rams? Or the Raiders? Their defense is aging, but it's still pretty good, and it looks a lot better once their offense starts clicking. RB Adrian Peterson can make even an average QB look really good. They should be ranked higher.