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NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: Lions offense keeping them in the top 8

Checking in on where the Detroit Lions stand in the national rankings heading into Week 14 of the NFL season.

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Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are going through a rough patch in efficiency right now, but they continue to find ways to win, largely behind an offense that can hang with anyone in the NFL. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s national power rankings to see why the Lions landed where they did on each ranker's list.

MMQB: 4 (Last week: 5)

From Connor Orr:

“The Detroit Lions have not been this good, this late in a season since 1962. Think about that for one second. The Lions’ first touchdown drive touched on the amount of precision that was required in order to erase decades of futility. They can run the ball and convert on a third-and-7 with relative ease. Sam LaPorta, a rookie second round pick, took two defenders clear out of a rushing play at the goal line. This team has its opponents so cross-eyed it’s incredible.”

Yahoo Sports: 6 (Last week: 5)

From Frank Schwab:

“It was odd to see the Lions let the Saints get back in the game after jumping out to a quick 21-0 lead. Cynically you can wonder if it was a continuation of the Lions’ midseason lull, but ultimately it was a needed road win over a decent opponent. The Lions will be fine.”

The Athletic: 6 (Last week: 7)

From Josh Kendall:

“After losing to Green Bay on Thanksgiving, Detroit had to hold on to beat reeling New Orleans on Sunday. The Lions are probably fine. They remain fourth in the league in touchdowns per drive (29.3 percent). Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta had nine catches for 140 yards Sunday, and he’s tied for the most touchdowns by a tight end (six) and has the fourth-most receiving yards among tight ends (679). But it would be cruel to this team’s fan base if it doesn’t finish strong.”

ESPN: 6 (Last week: 7)

From ESPN staff, excerpt from Eric Woodyard:

Pleasant surprise: TE Sam LaPorta

“There were obviously expectations for the Lions rookie after being selected in the second round (34th overall) of the 2023 NFL draft out of Iowa, but LaPorta has been better than advertised. Last season, Lions GM Brad Holmes made an unpopular decision to trade Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings and decided to go with a committee approach at the position. But this season, LaPorta has been the guy. His NFL career is off to a great start with the third-most catches (64) and the fourth-most receiving yards (679) through the first 12 games of a tight end’s career in NFL history. Not many people expected this type of production from Day 1.”

Pro Football Network: 7 (Last week: 7)

From Dalton Miller:

“The Lions looked like they were going to run away and hide from a good defensive team in the New Orleans Saints. However, after a strong three-drive stretch to start the game, the offensive well ran a bit dry, and the Lions’ defensive flaws shined bright.

“Even at 9-3, it’s becoming harder to trust this team as the season progresses. The offense is incredibly talented, but they need to be nearly perfect because the defense has fallen apart over the past four weeks.”

USA Today: 7 (Last week: 7)

From Nate Davis:

“Given his general lack of impact well into his second NFL season, it’s easy to forget what a weapon WR Jameson Williams can be. Then he serves fresh notice Sunday.” 7 (Last week: 8)

From Eric Edholm:

“The Lions have their best record through a dozen games since 1962, and they’d have to trip over about 14 rakes between now and Week 18 to miss the playoffs. There’s an excellent chance they’ll be hosting a postseason game, and they’re not out of the race for the No. 1 seed. So why does it feel like there’s a slight panic in Detroit? Well, because the Lions have insisted on making the journey more painful than it needs to be, nearly coughing up multiple-score leads against the Chargers and Saints, barely coming back to beat the Bears and opening the door for the Packers to come steal the NFC North. The offense turned in a cleaner game at New Orleans, with no turnovers after committing a combined seven over the previous two games. But the defense remains a concern, falling apart in the second half on Sunday despite knocking Derek Carr out of the game. There’s just a general uneasiness around the Lions right now, especially with some tricky games down the stretch.”

CBS Sports: 7 (Last week: 8)

From Pete Prisco:

“They got back on track beating the Saints, but they made it interesting. The defense has to be better than it has been in recent weeks.”

Sporting News: 7 (Last week: 8)

From Vinnie Iyer:

“The Lions’ defense still is having issues holding opponents down, now wilting vs. the run and not having reliable downfield coverage behind a limited pass rush. But when Jared Goff and protect the ball and they win the turnover margin and then finish with the running game.”

Touchdown Wire: 7 (Last week: 8)

From Jarrett Bailey:

“The Lions came out firing early and often. This team has the firepower to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the NFL.”

The Ringer: 8 (Last week: 8)

From The Ringer collective staff, excerpt from Sheil Kapadia:

“How’s this stat line for Jared Goff when targeting tight end Sam LaPorta during the Lions’ win over the Saints in Week 13: 9-for-9 for 140 yards and a touchdown. Not bad! Time after time, Goff found LaPorta in high-leverage situations, and the Saints had no answers.

“Zooming out, it’s tough to know exactly how to feel about this Lions team right now. On the one hand, they got up 21-0 against the Saints and clearly looked like the better team. On the other, their defense let the Saints get back in it. New Orleans was driving in Detroit territory and needed a touchdown to go ahead in the fourth quarter before the Lions got one final stop, and the offense put the game away. They’re 9-3, and barring some type of epic meltdown, the Lions will win the NFC North and host a playoff game. But it’d sure be nice to see their defense find some answers down the stretch.”

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