Let's start this off by saying this is not your average power ranking. Your average run of the mill power ranking will rank each team by strength of opponent or strength of a team in general. Today's power ranking will rank each Lions opponent based on a few different guidelines. Entertainment value, importance of game and difficulty of opponent.
Lastly there will be a 1-10 point system attached to each team that shows the win ability of each game. One being a sure loss and ten being a sure win. Let's get right into with the only opponent that anyone can see being ranked first.
1. Green Bay Packers
I mean, come on. This is the game that every Lions fan will be glued to their TV set to watch. In the last three seasons, these two teams have come together to have some fun games that are always full of drama. Last year raised the bar of this rivalry and made it must see TV for all football fans. Entertainment value, check.
You can check off importance, not only due to the long standing rivalry, but because of the way both games went down in 2015. But what about difficulty? Are the Packers the same dominant team they've been for years? It's hard to say they are after the way the Packers struggled last season with not only the Lions, but the rest of the division as well. A Jordy Nelson return will help. But is he the same player he was pre-injury? I'm not sure anyone can say that right now.
Win-ability score: 5
2. Dallas Cowboys
We all know why they're so high on this list. It's all about the entertainment. The last three times these two teams have played each other, the games were filled with drama beyond comprehension. The last meeting is what this is all about though. It's the very reason the NFL put this game on its primetime slate. The picked up flag. The Lions should be out for revenge, and the Cowboys will be out to make sure that doesn't happen.
As far as importance goes, it's hard to measure that at the moment. But what you can say is if the Lions are in a position where they can make the playoffs, this game means a lot as it's an NFC opponent in Week 16. Worse case scenario has the Lions playing spoiler to the Cowboys. This will be a fun one.
3. Minnesota Vikings
On to the reigning NFC North champions. The Lions were swept and, in some cases, beat half to death by the Vikings in 2015. The Lions have to take this one personally if they hope to steal one of these games. This is a game that is all about the importance as opposed to entertainment. I can't say I've had a blast watching these two teams play in recent years.
The Lions and Vikings rivalry will have a lot to do with the outcome of the division this year. The Lions want to make sure the Vikings don't repeat, the Packers feel the same way and the Lions' only chance to win this division outside of beating non-divisional opponents is to beat division rivals not named the Packers.
4. New York Giants
This game is all about one thing: Darius Slay vs Odell Beckham Jr. Let me tell you, I cannot wait for this. I'm betting these two guys have this date circled on their calendars as well. As far as importance goes, it's just like the Cowboys game from earlier. This is an NFC opponent in the home stretch of the season. If things go right and the Lions are firmly in the playoff hunt, this is a must-win game.
The Giants are a scary team in my book, especially on offense with the aforementioned Beckham and a healthy Victor Cruz. Eli Manning will have some fun with these toys all season long. Their defense also got a huge boost with the addition of Olivier Vernon to go along with Jason Pierre-Paul.
5. Indianapolis Colts
I'm not sure what to think of this game. Ever since I saw it on the schedule for the first time, my mind has immediately gone to how ugly of a game it could be for both teams. Andrew Luck has shown himself to be quite the erratic quarterback who is capable of either destroying you or destroying himself. Which Luck will the Lions see? It's anyone's guess.
On the other side, the Lions will be going into their first game of the season with questions galore. Will this offense work as planned? Did the line improve at all? Is the defense back on track? There's just no telling what to expect. But because it is the first game of the season and its importance is very high, it has to be ranked this high.
6. New Orleans Saints
Much like the Cowboys, this is an out of division team that the Lions can call a bitter rival since 2011. These two teams tend to get together to have a fun experience for everyone to watch. This edition should be no different. The Lions will once again travel to the Superdome a year after Matthew Stafford had one of the best games in his career on a Monday night in 2015. Drew Brees will be there ready to squash those good memories and create new bad ones.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
I have a bad feeling about this game. It has all the makings of a trap game even though it shouldn't. Everyone looks at this game and figures it for a win because hey, it's the Jags. They've been perennially bad for many years. But this isn't your daddy's Jaguars. This is a Jags team with an explosive offense that features two great receivers that won't fly under the radar after 2016.
This game goes two ways. The Jags dominate and embarrass the Lions. Or it turns into an all out shootout and everyone goes home happy regardless of the end result. Lions fans probably won't like the route I take on this one.
8. Houston Texans
Turn down for Watt? Let's put all our cards on the table. JJ Watt is going to sack Matthew Stafford. Probably more than once. The Texans defensive line is one of the scariest in the league with Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Vince Wilfork. That's what this game is likely to come down to. With Ansah on the other side for the Lions, it could be a sack fest of epic proportions.
Where the Lions have their chance is against the Texans offense. An unproven Brock Osweiler will be thrown into the deep end this year in hopes he can finally give the Texans the quarterback they've been looking for. But with no run game and only DeAndre Hopkins to bail Osweiler out, the Lions should be able to get themselves a win over this up and coming, playoff caliber team.
9. Washington Redskins
The day he came back home... Michigan State alumni Kirk Cousins, that is. (That was a Halloween reference for those who care). This is another game that's much like the Colts game. I can't tell you what to expect. The Redskins finished strong last season and went to the playoffs. This year, they appear to have the whole gang coming back with the very nice addition of Josh Norman.
I'd imagine Cousins will give the Lions defense just about all they can handle throughout this game. But will the league's 28th-ranked defense improve with Norman? Who knows anymore? Still, this is a game that can easily go sideways on the Lions, and I won't be surprised if it does.
10. Chicago Bears
If you're keeping track of sports talk, anytime a player calls another team their "little brother," It never ends well for that team. The Wolverines haven't beat the Spartans since Mike Hart said it. And the Bears haven't beat the Lions since Brandon Marshall said it back in 2013. Will that streak continue? Here's one Lions fan that hopes it never ends.
Here's the issue. The Bears have drastically improved their defense this offseason and had easily one of the best drafts of any team in the league. It's safe to say they climb out of the basement defensively. But here's their problem: Matt Forte is gone, the offensive line has been ravaged with injuries and they don't know what they have in Kevin White. The offense is looking a bit rough. For that reason, I must go with the Lions.
11. Philadelphia Eagles
Can anyone tell me they honestly think this team got any better? Last year, the Lions roasted the Eagles on Thanksgiving day, a game that saw Matthew Stafford throw five touchdown passes the week after Jameis Winston threw five touchdown passes on the Eagles. Things were bad for the league's 30th-ranked defense.
Now the Eagles are coming into this game with a brand spanking new quarterback in Carson Wentz. Assuming he's the starter by then, of course. I, personally, am not sold on Wentz. I am concerned for him mostly because he has no run game and no receiving threats. This looks to be a long rebuild for head coach Doug Pederson and the Eagles.
12. Tennessee Titans
I'm not sure what to think of the Titans. Marcus Mariota showed last year that he's a decent quarterback that still has some room to grow. But with Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray joining the backfield, Mariota has a real chance to shine, and the Titans have a real chance to be a balanced offense. The obvious issue is the lack of a true No. 1 receiver.
The defense, however, showed in 2015 that they can play some ball, finishing 12th in total defense. The addition of Kevin Dodd and Brice McCain will only make things better. But I still think the Lions have a chance to light this team up offensively and defensively. However, teams won't be doing that to the Titans for long.
13. Los Angeles Rams
Hollywood glitz and glamour is not what comes to mind when I think about this Rams team. Honestly, what comes to mind is a Twitter feed full of "Lions should have drafted Aaron Donald" for an entire week leading up to the game, during the game and after the game. I can't tell anyone that they're wrong. The man is a beast and will probably be coming for Stafford just like he did in 2015.
Aside from Todd Gurley, who some feel is one of the best running backs in the league, I see an offense that's in disarray and has no idea what it wants to be. First overall pick Jared Goff is already fighting for his job in LA against Case Keenum. Keenum appears to be slightly ahead of Goff since he's taking the start in the Rams' first preseason game. You have to wonder who the Lions will see under center once this game rolls around early in the season.
So there you have it Lions fans. Those are my thoughts and I'm sticking to them. But what are your thoughts? how would you rank these opponents? How would you measure the win-ability of each game? Be sure to leave your comments below or come yell at me on Twitter @POD_Payton.