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Patriots Blog: ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings List Pats At No. 2

By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
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Bill Belichick (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Levan Reid Levan Reid
Levan Reid is a veteran sports reporter who has joined the W...
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BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a day before the official start of the NFL season, and the power rankings are out.  These are the ESPN power rankings:

1.   Green Bay Packers
2.   New England Patriots
3.   New York Giants
4.   San Francisco 49ers
5.   Houston Texans
6.   Baltimore Ravens
7.   Philadelphia Eagles
8.   Pittsburgh Steelers
9.   Chicago Bears
10.  Atlanta Falcons
11.  New Orleans Saints
12.  Detroit Lions
13.  Denver Broncos
14.  Dallas Cowboys
15.  San Diego Chargers
16.  Cincinnati Bengals
17.  Kansas City Chiefs
18.  Tennessee Titans
19.  Buffalo Bills
20.  Seattle Seahawks
21.  New York Jets
22.  Carolina Panthers
23.  Arizona Cardinals
24.  Washington Redskins
25.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26.  Oakland Raiders
27.  Miami Dolphins
28.  St. Louis Rams
29.  Jacksonville Jaguars
30.  Minnesota Vikings
31. Cleveland Browns
32. Indianapolis Colts

First and foremost, I think it’s weird that the champs don’t get top billing. Also, I feel the Carolina Panthers and the Washington Redskins may be too low.

With that said, I think the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers are too high. The Houston Texans are on the rise and I think they are the Pats’ biggest threat in the AFC.

As always though, anything can happen.

Belichick Wary Of Home-Run Threat

With the first game of the season only a few days away, Bill Belichick gave reporters some flash on Tennessee running back Chris Johnson. The coach feels the Titans begin and end with the Pro Bowl back and he believes stopping him is something the Pats simply have to do.

“It’s a big challenge for our defense. He’s very dangerous,” Belichick said. “He has a bunch of 50-plus yard touchdowns, he’s had like four touchdowns over 75 yards, 80 yards, or something like that. Whenever he gets the ball anywhere on the field, he’s just one play away from the end zone, so everybody’s got to be ready and do their job and make sure that no matter where he hits it, we’ve got him defended, because he can attack anywhere on the field.”

He made it a point to say that wherever Johnson has the ball, team defense has to get there and make a tackle.

“All 11 guys have to get ready to defend him when he has the ball, because he’s capable of getting anywhere, and even if you’re there, you’ve still got to tackle him,” he said. “He’s not only a fast back, but he’s elusive, shifty, has good vision. [He’s a] big-time home run threat every time he touches the ball.”

Follow Levan Reid on CBSBostonsports.com and on Twitter @LevanReid all Patriots’ season long!

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