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2015 NFL power rankings: Packers start year behind only Seahawks

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People like the Packers this year.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since January, it's a (real) game week for the Green Bay Packers. This weekend, the green and gold take on NFC North division rival Chicago to kick off the year. Accordingly, nearly every publication has issued their first set of regular season power rankings. SB Nation is no exception, and the Packers begin the year ranked No. 2 overall.

That Green Bay opens the year with such high expectations shouldn't surprise anyone following the team, which has been championed as a Super Bowl favorite since the early offseason. Here's what rankings compiler Danny Kelly said about ranking the Packers second:

"Meanwhile, the Packers, who by all logic should have gotten past the Seahawks and gone to the Super Bowl last year, return most of their core players, as well -- including the best quarterback in the game in Aaron Rodgers -- but will have to cope with the preseason loss of Jordy Nelson. The battle of attrition has started early for Green Bay, but it's a loss that they should be able to weather. I expect they'll once again be among the NFC's elite."

Kelly's explanation hits on all the usual points; the loss of Jordy Nelson to an ACL-tear negatively affects their chances, but the roster has enough talent to overcome his absence. That also appears to be the rationale for Fox Sports, which currently ranks the Packers No. 3 overall.

Jason B. Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as an NFL writer for SB Nation and Sports on Earth and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.