It’s been hard for the Detroit Lions to garner any national attention this year. After their 1-3 start, it seems they fell into irrelevancy. Despite unbelievable comebacks week after week and an MVP-type of season from Matthew Stafford, the Lions rarely caught the eye of the public, who was too distracted by the bright lights in Dallas.
To be fair, I was still a holdout on this team up until the past few weeks. I continued to believe the defense wasn’t for real and the offense would eventually be bogged down by a complete lack of a running game. But after Sunday’s complete performance against the Saints, I can’t deny this team any longer. And it appears the rest of the media is falling in line, too.
Detroit is now a consensus top-10 team in our power ranking roundup:
- SB Nation: 8th (up 5)
- NFL.com: 7th (up 1)
- Yahoo! Sports: 7th (up 2)
- CBS Sports: 7th (up 2)
- USA Today: 6th (up 1)
- ESPN: 8th (down 1)
Not only have the Lions climbed up the ranks—except in ESPN’s wildly unpredictable rankings—but several power ranking columns made specific mention of the Lions and their rise to respectability.
From SB Nation:
There a few convincing and impressive victories in Week 13, and a couple of teams confirmed what many — myself included — doubted for most of the year: The Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs are for real.
Yahoo’s intro to their power rankings is completely devoted to the Lions. Here are few snippets:
Weird things are happening. Maybe we shouldn’t dismiss the Detroit Lions just yet.
Then on Sunday, the Lions looked like a different team. They blew away an opponent for the first time all season. They beat the Saints 28-13 in a game that was never in doubt. The Lions’ defense, which has been average at best all season, was fantastic. They forced Drew Brees into three interceptions and the Saints scored only one touchdown at home, where they usually score at will.
It’s still hard to believe that the Lions are a legitimate contender, however, if they’re not then who is? Even the few teams considered Super Bowl contenders (is that list just five deep? Six, maybe?) are flawed. It’s the perfect year for a team to come out of nowhere and steal a championship.
This week, the Lions will take on the lowly 3-9 Chicago Bears, who are already out of NFC North contention. With Jay Cutler now out for the year, the Bears are relying on Matt Barkley to win them games down the stretch. Unsurprisingly, experts are not impressed, despite their win on Sunday.
- SB Nation - 27th
- NFL.com - 28th
- Yahoo! Sports - 28th
- CBS Sports - 29th
- USA Today - 28th
- ESPN - 28th
The Lions could erase all of their good will with a loss on Sunday to a Bears team playing for draft position, but another win and even ESPN may move them up again.