The Detroit Lions rebounded nicely in Week 3, taking down the Atlanta Falcons, 20-6, behind a stellar defensive performance that held their offense to 183 total yards.
“That was a big win,” coach Dan Campbell said in his post-game press conference. “I was proud of our guys. I was really proud of the staff. It’s not always easy to deal with me. So they did a great job of prepping these players and collectively wanting to bounce back after last week. [...] Our defense was outstanding, (Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn) AG did a hell of a job, and we looked like a hungry, hungry team. We looked like a hungry, violent defense, we got takeaways, tackles, TFL’s, guys were flying around the football, pretty good in coverage, and we were around the quarterback a lot.”
Let’s take a look at how the Lions' win over the Falcons altered the national writers’ NFL power rankings in Week 4.
Sporting News: 6 (Last week: 8)
“The Lions’ defense made a statement in Week 1 at Kansas City before crashing vs. Seattle in Week 2. Aidan Hutchinson and friends rose to the occasion in ripping the one-dimensional Falcons and making it a simpler outing for Jared Goff.”
USA Today: 6 (Last week: 9)
“How scary could this defense get? It’s posted seven sacks twice in the past five games, something Detroit hadn’t done previously since 2014. But might have to temper expectations in Week 4, given the Lions are already playing their second Thursday night game and against infrequently bagged Pack QB Jordan Love (3 sacks taken).
Yahoo Sports: 7 (Last week: 8)
“Sam LaPorta is the real deal. He has an 18-186-1 line through three games, which is excellent for a rookie tight end. When the Lions traded T.J. Hockenson, it seemed weird. Hockenson is playing very well with the Vikings and his value was shown when he signed the largest deal for a tight end in NFL history. But it turns out the Lions got a good replacement and for the next few years will pay LaPorta a fraction of what Hockenson makes. That’s smart business.
NFL.com: 7 (Last week: 8)
“I have a feeling the defense we saw getting worked over by Seattle in Week 2 is not going to be the unit we see for most of the season. The performance the defense put forth in Week 3 against Atlanta is more like it. Though the Falcons don’t yet have a dominant offense, they pose unique challenges for many defenses. Atlanta tried attacking DBs Jerry Jacobs and Brian Branch after their Week 2 coverage challenges, but both stepped up and played well. In the Lions’ first outing without C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Branch had a whale of a game; he could be one of this defense’s most important players soon.”
Touchdown Wire: 7 (Last week: 9)
No explanation for ranking at this time.
The Athletic: 7 (Last week: 13)
“QB confidence rating: 7
“In Year 8, Jared Goff has found his people. Lions general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell have thrown their full support behind Goff, and so far this year he is fifth in the league in passing yards (819) and sixth in passer rating (101.6).”
ESPN: 8 (Last week: 8)
“Offensive efficiency: 42.7 (15th)
Biggest issue on offense: Rushing efficiency
“The Lions’ offense is off to yet another strong start, scoring 20 or more points in 12 straight games dating back to last season. However, the ground attack could be more efficient. Yes, the Lions are averaging the 11th-most rushing yards per game (111.7) through Week 3, but it has taken them a lot of carries with just 3.6 yards per rush attempt (ranked 25th in NFL). Veteran David Montgomery (thigh) was sidelined for Sunday’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons, while rookie Jahmyr Gibbs is still trying to find a groove. “He’ll only get better with time, and with reps he just will,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said of Gibbs.”
The Ringer: 8 (Last week: 9)
No explanation for ranking at this time.
MMQB: 8 (Last week: 10)
“Jared Goff’s throw to Amon-Ra St. Brown before the half was a thing of beauty, and emblematic of the fact that he’s a legitimate top-10 passer in this league. The Lions’ pass rush came alive against a shaky and, surprisingly, not overschemed Desmond Ridder. While Goff’s fourth quarter interception was costly, Dan Campbell could finally lean on a situation where his defense could provide the counter punch.
Pro Football Network: 9 (Last week: 11)
“Jahmry [sic] Gibbs’ explosiveness is perverse. He absolutely explodes at the first and second levels with the ball in his hands. He will be a fantastic piece for the Lions down the stretch, particularly once David Montgomery returns, and they can maximize that explosiveness with a lighter workload.
“Meanwhile, only four players were targeted on a pass for the Lions today. Amon-Ra St. Brown caught nine passes, while Sam LaPorta caught eight, Kalif Raymond caught four, and Gibbs caught one.”
CBS Sports: 10 (Last week: 18)
“That was a nice bounce-back victory against the Falcons. The defense came up big in that game in dominating the day.