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NFL Week 15 power rankings: Lions not penalized for loss to Broncos

Exploring how the national media views the Lions after a trip to Denver.

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions suffered a bad loss in Denver last week, but with chunks of the roster missing due to injury, illness, or positive COVID-19 results, most national experts recognized the situation and ranked with leniency—a few even moved the Lions up a spot.

Let’s take a closer look at what the national media had to say about the Lions.

MMQB: 29 (Previous: 31)

“The Lions are probably not going to end this year with a winning streak, but they’ll put themselves in a position to transform their defense with the No. 1 pick in the draft. This season was not beautiful, but starting 2022 as one of the 10 best teams in net yards per rushing attempt and having an offensive line good enough to court some quarterback talent isn’t the worst place to be.” — MMQB’s rotating writers ($ubscription required)

NFL.com: 30 (Previous: 30)

“The afterglow of the Lions’ first win of the season faded as the reality of another losing Sunday set in. Detroit surrendered 184 yards on the ground to the Broncos, while the offense struggled to create big plays with D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson sidelined by injuries in a 38-10 loss. Jared Goff didn’t complete a pass over 20 yards the entire game. Lions coach Dan Campbell said Monday he is “hopeful” that Swift will return to action in Week 15 against the Cardinals. If not, the immortal Craig Reynolds will continue to see extensive work.” — Dan Hanzus

Washington Post: 30 (Previous: 30)

“The Lions didn’t have much of a chance Sunday in Denver. They were undermanned because of their issues with coronavirus and flu cases, and they were facing an inspired Broncos team.” — Mark Maske ($ubscription required)

Yahoo Sports: 30 (Previous: 31)

“The Lions didn’t have a lot of gas left after getting that first win in Week 13, and being without so many players didn’t help. There was motivation when Detroit still was searching for a victory. Dan Campbell’s challenge the rest of the way is keeping his team playing hard without anything tangible to chase.” — Frank Schwab

USA Today: 30 (Previous: 30)

“With losses to the Ravens and Eagles in the bag, Detroit could go winless against all five NFL bird mascots with the Cardinals, Falcons and Seahawks coming down the pike.” — Nate Davis

ESPN: 31 (Previous: 30)

Offense: 29
Defense: 31
Special teams: 4

“The Lions presently have the highest chance to receive the first pick in the 2022 NFL draft. With the current roster in place, even at its best, this team might have been able to achieve a five-win campaign, and that’s being generous. But season-ending injuries to key guys such as cornerback Jeff Okudah, center Frank Ragnow and linebacker Romeo Okwara help explain the poor ratings on offense and defense. The final four games of the season could be rough for the Lions as they try to rebuild for the future under first-year coach Dan Campbell.” — Eric Woodyard

CBS Sports: 31 (Previous: 31)

“The injuries and the loss of a lot of players to illness and COVID proved to be too much at Denver. They just don’t have enough talent to overcome that.” — Pete Prisco

Sporting News: 32 (Previous: 32)

“The Lions got their first win out of the way against the Vikings. So they decided to be more injury-riddled and go through the motions in Denver.” — Vinnie Iyer