NFL Power Rankings: Packers begin season at No. 1, but not for reason you’d expect

It’s become a joke of sorts that I pick the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots to play in the Super Bowl every year.

So keep laughing. I am doing it again.

Normally the two main reasons are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. While they are both a big part of my rationale for doing so this year, the reason I am not only picking the Packers to get to the Super Bowl but also win it isn’t Rodgers.

It’s the defense.

I think the Green Bay defense has a chance to be special this season. The additions of pass rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith will impact the front in a big way. 

The rise of second-year corner Jaire Alexander into one of the best at his position will impact the secondary, along with the additions of safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. 

Coordinator Mike Pettine has a lot of toys to play with to use in his creative approach to playing defense. It will be a fun, aggressive unit to watch.

If they can be a top-10 unit, you know Rodgers will have a big season. Don’t buy all the talk that he can’t co-exist with first-year coach Matt LaFleur. They will be fine. Rodgers will throw over 40 touchdown passes to win the league MVP.

The Packers will win the Super Bowl, which is why they are the No. 1 team in my first Power Rankings of 2019. The Patriots, naturally, are second.

The Miami Dolphins open in the bottom spot, and I would expect them to stay there the entire season, although the New York Giants will be near the bottom as well.

For now, it’s all about the Packers at the top – and, for once, my pick isn’t just based on the talents of Rodgers.

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