Power Rankings: New England is No. 1

Updated: August 8, 2005, 4:22 PM ET

With the draft and the main portion of free agency behind us, it's time to check in with our offseason Power Rankings.

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
This week's rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff -- writers John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli, Michael Smith, the Insiders from Scouts Inc., and ESPN.com NFL editors Peter Lawrence-Riddell and James C. Black.

The Patriots open on top after their second straight Super Bowl championship. While they've lost some key parts of their championship teams, they still have to be considered the favorites heading into 2005.

A number of teams moved from the last time we ranked them (after Week 17). Despite losing Randy Moss, the Vikings jumped from No. 16 in our final rankings all the way to No. 4. With a number of solid additions on defense (Pat Williams, Fred Smoot, Sam Cowart, Darren Sharper), the Vikings have to be considered the favorites in the NFC North. Staying in the NFC North, the Packers dropped from No. 7 to No. 18 after an offseason that saw them lose starting guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle and starting safety Sharper.

Another team that made a big jump is the Cowboys, who leaped from No. 26 to No. 12. Dallas had a solid offseason, adding starters on defense (CB Anthony Henry and DT Jason Ferguson) and offense (OG Rivera and QB Drew Bledsoe) through free agency.

Anyway, on to the rankings. Also, stop by the Power Rankings Show on SportsNation at noon ET to chat with the NFL Power Ranker.

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