Detroit Lions look like one of the league’s 10 best teams: NFL power rankings

Detroit Free Press

The last time the Detroit Lions made the NFL playoffs in 2016, they backed their way into a wild-card spot, qualifying despite losing their final three games.

The time before that, in 2014, they made the playoffs but lost a Week 17 game to the Green Bay Packers with the NFC North division up for grabs.

That’s one reason so many people have not only latched onto this year’s Lions team, but also have found hope in their late-season run: They are winning games and playing well against good teams, and if they make the postseason, it will be on their own merit — not because another team gave them free passage.

READ MORE:Detroit Lions keep rolling, and best of all, look set up for serious long-term success

I moved the Lions up to No. 11 in my power rankings this week, which I think is the highest they’ve been since I started doing rankings in 2018, and you could make the case they belong in the top 10.

The Lions are playing better football right now than the No. 9 and 10 teams in my rankings, the Miami Dolphins (who have lost three straight) and Baltimore Ravens (who’ve struggled without Lamar Jackson), and they beat the No. 6 team, the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago.

Ultimately, I gave Miami the head-to-head edge over Detroit (and Baltimore), and figure the Ravens’ and Vikings’ overall records have to count for something. This is a 17-game season, after all.

But the reality is, it’s hard to quibble with anyone who thinks the Lions are a top-10 team right now.

Outside of 2014, when they started 6-2 and had one of the best defenses in the NFL, I’m not sure I’ve been able to say that about the Lions since I started covering the team for the Free Press some 12 years ago.

We’ll see how far the Lions can go and how long these good vibes last, but for now it’s OK to sit back and enjoy ride.

READ MORE:Something unexplainable is happening to the Lions

HOW IT HAPPENED:The anatomy of an amazing, magical Detroit Lions victory: Give them all credit

This week’s power rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

3. Buffalo Bills (11-3)

4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)

5. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)

6. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)

7. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

8. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

9. Miami Dolphins (8-6)

10. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)

11. Detroit Lions (7-7)

12. Tennessee Titans (7-7)

13. New York Jets (7-7)

14. New York Giants (8-5-1)

15. Washington Commanders (7-6-1)

16. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)

17. Green Bay Packers (6-8)

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8)

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

20. New England Patriots (7-7)

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)

22. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)

23. Cleveland Browns (6-8)

24. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)

25. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

26. Carolina Panthers (5-9)

27. New Orleans Saints (5-9)

28. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)

29. Denver Broncos (4-10)

30. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

31. Chicago Bears (3-11)

32. Houston Texans (1-12-1)

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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