Packers Start Season Atop Rankings

RB Cedric Benson (Frank Victores/USP)

With the addition of Cedric Benson, Green Bay collected five of 12 first-place votes to rank No. 1 in the AP's Pro32 rankings

The Green Bay Packers are ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Pro32 rankings. They collected five of 12 first-place votes, finishing ahead of No. 2 New England (two first-place votes) and the No. 3 New York Giants (five).

Here are comments on the Packers by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):

Chris Berman (ESPN, 3) - After all, Packers had best record last year.

Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 3) - Losing LB Desmond Bishop is problem for defense. Adding Cedric Benson gives explosive offense more balance.

Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 1) - Best team in regular season last year and have chip on shoulder after playoff loss.

Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 1) - Seen enough improvement from D in preseason to keep Packers at top.

Bob Glauber (Newsday, 4) - No worries about Aaron Rodgers, who can afford a few missteps after last year's nearly perfect MVP season. Real worry is defense, which finished last in yards allowed in `11.

Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 1) - Have Packers improved NFL's worst defense? Another Lombardi Trophy hangs in balance.

Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 2) - Learned hard way last year that defense still matters.

Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 2) - Perhaps shifting Charles Woodson to safety can energize a secondary that was burned repeatedly last fall.

Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 1) - 15-1 last year, averaged 40 points a game at home, got better on defense in offseason. Ced Benson will stabilize run game.

John Lynch (Fox Sports, 2) - Will be in conversation all year long. How quick we forget 15-1 last year. Defense bounces back, Aaron Rodgers at helm ... enough said!

Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 2) - Provided his 2011 fumbling problems are behind him, preseason signing of running back Cedric Benson should give an already prolific offense a nice boost.

Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 1) - Addition of Cedric Benson could give Packers dimension they lacked.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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