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NFL Week 16 power rankings: Lions ‘never deserved to be lumped in with the league’s bottom-feeders’

Exploring how the national media views the Lions after “a stunning blowout victory” over the Arizona Cardinals.

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Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions, for the most part, are a team not typically watched by the national media, and thus, the national perspective on what they are capable of reflects that.

This past weekend's “stunning blowout victory” over the Arizona Cardinals changed things a bit, and there were plenty of national eyes finding the game to see if the Lions were for real. There was a nice collection of love being thrown the Lions way following the game, and they moved up in every power ranking this week.

While most respected the effort the Lions gave and believe it's a reflection of coach Dan Campbell and staff motivating a below-average roster, there is one publication that has consistently had their fingers on the pulse of what Detroit is all about: the Monday Morning Quarterback crew.

MMQB: 25 (Previous: 29)

“They never deserved to be lumped in with the league’s bottom-feeders (Jets, Texans, Jaguars), and the results are finally reflecting that. Dan Campbell continues to get the most out of an undermanned group, and continues to show that interpersonal skills matter and you don't have to take yourself seriously 24/7 in order to get the best out of a professional football team.” — Gary Gramling ($ubscription required)

I feel seen.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what the rest of the national media had to say about the Lions. 27 (Previous: 30)

“Dan Campbell has had his Lions fighting hard all season. On Sunday, they combined that consistent effort with great execution — the result, a stunning blowout victory of the previously 10-2 Cardinals. Jared Goff continued his mastery against Kliff Kingsbury teams with three touchdown passes, while Detroit has found something in rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had eight catches for 90 yards with a score and now holds the single-season team record for catches by a rookie with 57. Detroit would probably be better off without a hot finish to its season from a draft position perspective, but that goes against everything that Campbell preaches inside the building. These Lions have heart – and they’re a dangerous opponent for any over-confident contender.” — Dan Hanzus

Yahoo Sports: 28 (Previous: 30)

“The Lions might have blown the first overall pick of the draft by winning, but it will be OK. Playing well late in this terrible season is good for a franchise that needs to experience something good. It’s good for the fans, it’s good for the young players, it’s good for head coach Dan Campbell and what he’s trying to build.” — Frank Schwab

ESPN: 29 (Previous: 31)

How hot is Dan Campbell’s seat: 2. Cool seat

“Obviously, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. But even with the disappointing record in his first season, the Lions’ players and front-office members absolutely love Campbell and work hard for him. He has made mistakes, notably when he was first adjusting to taking over the playcalling role, but Campbell’s effort and intensity have been consistent, which is how he has earned his respect. It’s no secret that the Lions are in the midst of yet another rebuild, and Campbell didn’t enter a situation with a ton of talent, but he is trying to make the most of what he has while building a culture with toughness and grit at the forefront.” — Eric Woodyard

CBS Sports: 29 (Previous: 31)

“They have won two games, tied one, and were in a bunch more. That’s a good job of coaching by Dan Campbell. Beating Arizona the way they did was impressive.” — Pete Prisco

USA Today: 29 (Previous: 30)

“Rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Brown has really come on the past three weeks, totaling 26 catches for 249 yards and two scores. Looks like the slot is one of the few areas Detroit need not worry about the next few years.” — Nate Davis

Washington Post: 29 (Previous: 30)

“The Lions at least showed they aren’t tanking.” — Mark Maske ($ubscription required)

Sporting News: 31 (Previous: 32)

“The Lions got their second win, a feel-good major upset over the Cardinals at home to stamp their season and make them feel good about Dan Campbell’s leadership going forward once the rebuild turns the corner. It’s off to a better start than many would think.” — Vinnie Iyer