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A panel of ESPN voters has tabbed the Seahawks for the top spot in its first regular-season power rankings ahead of Atlanta and the rival 49ers. (AP)
As if expectations weren't already sky high for the upcoming season, ESPN is adding fuel to the fire by voting the Seahawks to the top of its NFL Power Rankings.

"Russell Wilson and a dominant defense get headlines, but Marshawn Lynch and rookie Christine Michael will give the Seahawks balance. It's Super Bowl or bust in Seattle," says the comments in the first rankings of the regular season.

Following close behind in the voting by a five-member panel of ESPN.com's NFL staff are the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers.

While Seattle is a popular pick, the voting was far from unanimous.

The Falcons and 49ers also received at least one first-place vote. The Broncos were a close fourth with a pair of second-place votes.

It's not just the ESPN guys that are high on the Hawks. Voters in the AP's first Pro32 regular-season power rankings have Seattle in the second spot, just behind the 49ers.

San Francisco, the Seahawks' bitter NFC West rivals, got nine first-place votes from the nationwide panel of 12 AP NFL writers. Seattle received one top-spot nod. Denver, Atlanta and New England round out the top five.

While the early season rankings mean virtually nothing, they should further fan the flames as the Seahawks prepare to take on the 49ers in Week 2 of the NFL season after facing Carolina Sunday in the season opener.

Follow Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter

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