Packers Morning Buzz: It's a high 5 for Green Bay in national power rankings
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with the Packers earning top-5 recognition this week in most of the major national power rankings. Here's how Dan Hanzus of NFL.com sizes them up:
5. PACKERS (3-0)
You can imagine Brian Gutekunst throwing out the classic Michael Jordan "I can't believe I'm this good, either" shoulder shrug as he walked into team headquarters early Monday morning. Every move the Packers GM made to improve his team's defense has been genius through three weeks. On Sunday, Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith combined for five sacks and a forced fumble in a 27-16 win over the Broncos. Money well spent on the pair of pass rushers, who have been a huge upgrade over last year's combo of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Despite a season-high in points scored, the Packers' offense remains a work in progress. It's on head coach Matt LaFleur to make the necessary adjustments and keep Green Bay moving after working through the initial game script. The Packers have started fast and cooled off considerably in each of the past two weeks.
You can see the entire NFL.com rankings here:
USA Today Sports also ranks the Packers in the No. 5 slot, with this analysis:
5. Packers (4): Struggled a bit vs. winless Broncos but remain undefeated with potential to last deep into playoffs — especially if Aaron Rodgers gets hot.
The USAT rankings are here:
ESPN.com also puts the Packers at No. 5:
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith chimes in, as only Stephen A. Smith can:
The MMQB moves the Packers up to No. 5 but doesn't sound impressed:
It’s the third time in the Aaron Rodgers era that the Packers have started out 3-0, and maybe the least convincing of those teams. The Pack offense is 28th in the league.
Take a look at their rankings here:
And Pro Football Talk ranks the Packers fifth but makes a clear distinction between the top four and the rest of the league. Of the Packers, PFT writes:
5. Packers (3-0; No. 7): After drowning his sorrows in scotch last year, Aaron Rodgers is backing to using it as a celebratory beverage.
You can find the rest of their rankings here:
The NFC North is living up to all its preseason projections as the NFL's toughest division:
Aaron Rodgers is taking fewer opportunities to run in Matt LaFleur's new offense:
LaFleur is trying to simplify things during this short week:
Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler joins Tom Silverstein to spotlight the aggressive play of cornerback Jaire Alexander:
Former Packers receiver James Jones likens second-year cornerback Jaire Alexander to future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson:
Jim Owczarski breaks down what to expect from the Eagles:
Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor wants to reward a fan who helped save children from a fire (even though he dissed him after doing so):
ESPN's Rob Demovsky sees more formidable tests ahead for the Packers' defense:
In going over his list of intriguing NFL questions, Adam Schein of NFL.com writes that the Cowboys have been even more impressive than the Packers in terms of storied franchises being on the rise in the NFC, and also puts forth the idea that the Lions may be a more formidable division foe than the Vikings (while oddly making no mention of the Bears).
6) Green Bay Packers or Dallas Cowboys as the storied NFC power rising?
Green Bay was my preseason Super Bowl pick for the NFC. And I told you this Packer defense was going to step up in a major way. After the Pack's 27-16 win over Denver on Sunday, I'm not backing off anything. My Chiefs-Packers Super Bowl pick appears quite feasible here in late September.
But at this exact moment, it's the Cowboys. In an objective power ranking, Dallas has been the best team in the NFL. And I don't want to hear about the competition. The 'Boys are loaded and dominant in every single phase. This team lacks a true weakness. It's the most complete Dallas team since the mid-'90s dynasty outfits.
7) Detroit Lions or Minnesota Vikings as the Pack's biggest challenger?
Green Bay was/is my pick to win the North. But who is the most worthy No. 2? Dalvin Cook was tremendous (again) in the Vikings' blowout of the Raiders. But there's still something about Kirk Cousins that makes Minnesota tough to bank on.
You can read more here:
With tight end Jimmy Graham battling two injuries, will Thursday night be Robert Tonyan's time?
Like the Packers' offensive line, the Lions' unit is keeping their quarterback's jersey clean:
And finally: Pete Dougherty will be answering your Packers questions Wednesday at noon CT:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt