The Detroit Lions entered the 2023 season ranked anywhere from seven to 15 in most of the initial national power rankings. But after walking into Kansas City and knocking off the Chiefs on the night they were hanging their Super Bowl banner, the Lions have turned some heads.
Let’s take a look at how the Lions' big win has altered the national writers’ NFL power rankings in Week 2.
Sporting News: 4 (Last week: 7)
“The Lions’ defensive additions, rookie and otherwise, have paid off, and Dan Campbell’s run-oriented offense is dangerous and deep to support Jared Goff behind a great line. They are for real, and might be the only chance to stop either the 49ers or Eagles in the NFC.”
USA Today: 5 (Last week: 10)
“Yes, they caught K.C. a bit short-handed. But credit Detroit for surrendering just 316 yards – a level 2022’s league-worst defense kept opponents under just three times. DE Aidan Hutchinson is headed for stardom and propelling this group along the way.”
MMQB: 6 (Last week: 9)
“Signature win for Dan Campbell and the Lions, who still managed to keep a lot of their cards close to the vest. That might be the scariest thing about their narrow victory over the defending Super Bowl champions: Jahmyr Gibbs was a few steps away from multiple grand slams and then he’d get taken out of the game. The toughness of the secondary stood out to me as well. While it’s a Kelce-less Mahomes, it’s still a game against Mahomes nonetheless. And Detroit had him spinning.”
NFL.com: 6 (Last week: 11)
“Dan Campbell probably couldn’t have scripted his team’s road triumph over the Chiefs any better than it turned out. The Lions sent a big message to the rest of the league. Campbell’s “I didn’t learn anything” comment after the game might feel like a trope, but this team had me believing. Did the offense sputter a bit more than I expected against a Chris Jones-less Chiefs defense? It did. Am I worried? Not especially, especially if Jahmyr Gibbs’ role is expanded a bit more. And how about that rookie class? With Gibbs and Sam LaPorta on offense and Jack Campbell and Brian Branch on defense, those first four picks look terrific so far. This roster oozes young, exciting talent.
Yahoo Sports: 7 (Last week: 7)
“The Lions are going to be at their best if they let their offensive line push around the opponent in the run game. That’s what happened on a key fourth-quarter drive that led to their huge win at the Chiefs in the opener. It also covers up the Lions’ biggest issue, which is quality receiver depth after Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Lions should feel great after Week 1, but still with some things to work on.”
ESPN: 7 (Last week: 11)
Best debut performance: DB Brian Branch
Week 1 stats: 3 tackles, 1 pass defensed, INT, TD
“Branch recognized that NFL game speed was faster than college football, but the former Alabama star looked comfortable against the Chiefs. He returned an interception for a 50-yard touchdown against one of the best offenses in the league. “It definitely gives me a boost for my confidence,” Branch said during Monday’s practice. “But each week is going to be a challenging week, and we’ve just got to keep on preparing how we did against Kansas City and just for every week moving forward, we’ve got to do the same thing.”
Pro Football Network: 7 (Last week: 14)
“The NFL fan darlings of Detroit made one of the PFN game pickers look like a genius. It took many a missed opportunity from Chiefs receivers to get to 1-0. The Lions offense didn’t necessarily move the ball the way one might have expected against a Chris Jones-less Chiefs defense.
“A few aggressive coaching decisions also played a part in the Lions’ close win against Kansas City. But the Lions are also clearly ready to try their hand at competing for an NFC North title in 2023, which would be their first since joining the division.”
The Athletic: 7 (Last week: 15*)
* Previous ranking was made by a different writer
“Detroit fans are going to be nuts at the Super Bowl parade. That’s how this works, right? You beat the champs, you own the belt. I mean, Jared Goff outplayed Patrick Mahomes. But seriously, the Lions, who haven’t won a playoff game since 1991, are 9-2 in their last 11 games.”
Touchdown Wire: 10 (Last week: 14)
“Baw God, that’s Dan Campbell.
“If you’re ready for the Detroit Lions to be a real playoff contender, give me a hell yeah. And no, there is no “asterisk” on this win. Every team has something to overcome at any given time. The Lions went into Arrowhead and came away with a win. Now smack two beers together and pour them down your throat in the spirit victory. Whiskey for my men, beer for my Lions.”
The Ringer: 10 (Last week: 13)
“The Lions have bet on youth and development the last two seasons, and this is the year they hope it pays off. The offensive front has a case for being the league’s best, the defensive secondary has been retooled, and an 8-2 finish to last season provides proof of concept: The Lions can be legitimately good. A lot is riding on quarterback Jared Goff, who is experiencing a career renaissance under second-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. If he can win the big games, the Lions will be a legit team in the NFC.”
CBS Sports: 10 (Last week: 15)
“Winning at Kansas City is a big-boy moment for this young team. That sends a message to the league that the hype might be real.”