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NFL Week 9 power rankings: Detroit Lions are close to bottoming out

Checking in on where the Detroit Lions stand in the national rankings.

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Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions (1-6) are coming off another one-score loss and the national reactions have been as bad as expected. At this time, the only national publication that has the Lions above No. 31 in their power rankings is Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback, and even they are starting to question if Detroit can rebound this season.

Let’s take a look at this week’s NFL power rankings.

MMQB: 27 (Previous: 25)

From Conor Orr:

“It’s so sad to see the Lions keep losing football games, especially when they are in most of them. Another porous defensive performance prompted the firing of defensive passing game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant shortly after the game. Will anything change in the secondary, or is it already too late?”

NFL.com: 31 (Previous: 31)

From Dan Hanzus:

“The Lions scored on their first five possessions Sunday and led for the first 42 minutes of game time, but the final result was maddeningly consistent for Dan Campbell’s team: a 34-27 loss to the Dolphins in which the defense could not get a stop when it counted. On Monday, Campbell announced he’d fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, a lever a struggling team is known to flip when it’s not sure what else to do. “We’re in a production-based business,” said Campbell, “and after seven weeks, I felt like this change needed to be made.” We’re a long way off from the feel-good vibes of Hard Knocks.”

ESPN: 31 (Previous: 31)

From Eric Woodyard:

“Reason for optimism: It’s Year 2 of the rebuild.

The Lions national feature on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” may have given the public some sort of false hope that they would be much better than they actually are. Through seven games, one win certainly isn’t acceptable, but Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp told reporters last week that she continues to believe in head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes to turn things around. Detroit has a pair of first-round picks in the upcoming 2023 draft with a lot of young talent on the current roster, and if they’re properly developed could help change the losing culture in Motown.”

The Ringer: 31 (Previous: 30)

From Austin Gayle:

“After scoring six total points in their last two games, the Lions scored 27 first-half points and built a 10-point lead over the Dolphins on Sunday. Then they collapsed. Detroit didn’t convert a third down, enter the red zone, or score another point in the second half. The offense was plagued by penalties and drops that forced Jared Goff into obvious passing situations on second and third downs, something that remains the Achilles heel for Detroit. Goff ranks 25th in EPA per dropback on second, third, and fourth downs where the distance to the first is more than 6 yards. The Lions are very comfortably in the CJ Stroud–Bryce Young sweepstakes.”

The Athletic: 31 (Previous: 31)

From Bo Wulf:

Fact: By EPA per play, the Lions’ offense had the best first-quarter performance in the NFL this season against the Dolphins Sunday (0.95).

Opinion: The Lions defense is surrendering 6.5 yards per play, the worst mark for any team since the 2015 Saints. They would probably have a winning record if they just had a league-average defense. That dynamic led to Monday’s scapegoating of defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant.

USA Today: 31 (Previous: 31)

From Nate Davis:

“If nothing else, at least it appears 2020 first-round CB Jeff Okudah’s career is back on track – and with 20 tackles over the past two weeks, apparent he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.”

Yahoo Sports: 31 (Previous: 31)

From Frank Schwab:

“The Lions fired defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant after another awful game for the defense. The Lions had two 14-point leads against the Dolphins and nobody believed they were going to win. It’s a really bad team right now and firing the defensive backs coach won’t fix that. If things don’t turn around soon, Pleasant probably won’t be the last coach to go. And eventually Dan Campbell won’t have any more assistant coaches to fire before he’s the one on the block.”

Touchdown Wire: 31 (Previous: 29)

From Mark Lane:

“Part of the Lions’ problem has been their inability to close out games. The matter persisted against the Miami Dolphins at Ford Field. Coach Dan Campbell has been unable to get his team to close out in the fourth quarter, and until they can unlock that mystery, the Lions will be a bottom-tier club.”

CBS Sports: 31 (Previous: 32)

From Pete Prisco:

“They can score. But they can’t stop anybody. That’s going to be a season-long issue.”

Sporting News: 32 (Previous: 32)

From Vinnie Iyer:

“The Lions can keep scoring some big points when all their key weapons are around Jared Goff, but it’s clear their defense cannot stop anything when games matter despite building any kind of leads.”

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