Week 1 of the NFL 2021 season is finally here and that means the national media is ready to make a bunch of assumptions based on what they think they know about all 32 teams. That’s right, it’s power rankings time.
The Detroit Lions are at the beginning of a rebuild and so it should come as no surprise that the national media isn't very high on their chances of success this season. In fact, the highest ranking they received ahead of Week 1 was 30th in the league, with the majority placing them at 31.
Let’s take a look at some of the most respected national publications, see where they place the Lions, and explore their reasoning for why.
NFL.com, rank: 31
“The Lions gave Breshad Perriman $2 million guaranteed this offseason, then cut the former first-round pick before Week 1. It profiles as organizational folly, sure, but it also shows the new braintrust isn’t too proud to admit a mistake and move on. Jared Goff will open the season with Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus, Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown as his top wide receivers. It’s an unproven group, to say the least, and lends more credence to third-year tight end T.J. Hockenson seeing Darren Waller-level targets in 2021.” — Dan Hanzus
ESPN’s most recent power rankings were ahead of cutdowns, published on August 24, but it’s fair to say not a lot has changed in the past two weeks.
“New coach Dan Campbell continues winning his press conferences, but victories on the field will surely be much harder to come by.” — Nate Davis
Yahoo Sports: 31
“Releasing Breshad Perriman was a surprise, and it’s a reminder this team is going to have a poor passing game. Expect a lot of 16-10 games. At least the Lions hope most games are 16-10.” — Frank Schwab
“The Lions are in what should be a multiyear rebuilding project, but it will be interesting to see how Dan Campbell’s schtick plays if and when the losses start to pile up.” — MMQB Staff
CBS Sports: 30
“New coach Dan Campbell will have this team playing tough, physical football. The question is the talent. They don’t have enough yet to compete in the division. Jared Goff will play better than the experts think.” — Pete Prisco
Sporting News: 31
“The Lions are looking ahead to future seasons with some of their recent moves and are just trying to save some face with Jared Goff as more of a bridge QB than long-term solution. Dan Campbell, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Glenn have their work cut out for them with limited star power available.” — Vinnie Iyer
Washington Post: 31
“Matthew Stafford is gone and the Lions are hoping Jared Goff will be a franchise quarterback for them. That doesn’t seem all that promising.” — Mark Maske