Maybe it was the lackluster preseason. Maybe it’s suspicion of a first-time head coach coming from the Patriots tree. Maybe it’s the tough division or the media’s natural dismissiveness for the Lions. Or maybe it’s legit concern with an unbalanced roster.
Whatever the reason, faith in the 2018 Detroit Lions is clearly at a low entering the season, both locally and nationally. This is abundantly clear when looking through all of the national publications as they release their initial Power Rankings for Week 1 of the NFL. Take a look:
Washington Post: 18th (4th in NFC North)
CBS Sports: 19th (3rd in NFC North)
NFL.com: 18th (4th in NFC North)
SB Nation: 20th (4th in NFC North)
Bleacher Report: 24th (4th in NFC North)
Yahoo Sports: 19th (3rd in NFC North)
As you can see, the Lions are a consensus bottom-half team from all six publications. In fact, it’s pretty interesting to see them listed between 18-20 in every list but one. There seems to be a very clear consensus that this is a below average team headed for something like a 7-9 season.
Also, after trading for Khalil Mack, the Chicago Bears have jumped the Lions in every power ranking but one. It’s a grim look at the perception of the division, but you have to wonder if there’s any validity to it. Wait, what am I saying? #WeOwnTheBears
If there’s something optimisitc to take away from these power rankings, it’s this: Week 1 looks pretty good. The New York Jets are entering the season as one of the worst teams in the league, according to... well, just about everyone:
So if the Lions don’t open the season with a win... on their home field... in front of a pumped-up “Monday Night Football” crowd, then confidence will be even lower entering Week 2. Even if they win, though, there are going to still be a bunch of doubters.