2023 NFL Power Rankings: Detroit Lions in unchartered waters heading into Week 1
Are you ready for some NFL football?!?! On Thursday night, the Detroit Lions will kick off their 2023 campaign when they take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. After closing the 2022 season on a hot streak, the Lions have found themselves as the betting favorite to win win their decision for the first time since the 1993 season. So, where do the Lions rank in terms of the rest of the teams in the NFL? Each week, we will follow four sets of power rankings to see how the Lions fare.
Where do the Detroit Lions Rank in the NFL?
NFL.com: No. 11
“Even if the Lions aren’t quite as dynamic offensively as they were in 2022, it’s hard to imagine their defense isn’t vastly improved. Perhaps Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs pick away at them on Thursday night or, say, the Falcons (whom they play in Week 3) grind their way to success against Detroit. But top to bottom, this defense has added talent and depth during the offseason — which speaks to the Lions keeping 29 defenders on the initial roster. And just look where they’re coming from: Last year was a struggle, even accounting for some late-season improvement.
More sacks and takeaways helped mask things in 2022, but now they have more impact players in the front seven and better coverage options in the back end. Can coordinator Aaron Glenn make it work with an aggressive, man-heavy scheme? I think so, even with some expected hiccups.”
“What do the Lions do the best? Score. Behind a strong offensive line, which is returning Pro Bowlers Penei Sewell and Frank Ragnow, the Lions averaged the fifth-most points scored (25.7) in 2022. They have added running backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, while returning wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and quarterback Jared Goff, who are looking to pick up where they left off after winning eight of their final 10 games last year.”
The Athletic: 15
“Best-case scenario: We all look silly for questioning the resource allocation of first-round picks on a running back and off-ball linebacker as Jahmyr Gibbs becomes the unstoppable Queen for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to move around his chess board, and Jack Campbell brings a ferocity to the defense that makes the whole unit foam at the mouth like Dan Campbell himself. Behind what emerges as the best offensive line in football, the Lions dominate a weak NFC North and earn the No. 1 seed in the conference.”
“Due to NFL script-writing laws, only one of the two running backs selected in the first round of this year’s draft is allowed to be a massive success. Here’s hoping that Jahmyr Gibbs silently possesses a burning desire to have been selected by the Falcons—a deep, unknown love of the suburb of Alpharetta and its modest median home prices despite the wealth of square footage availability. And here’s hoping Gibbs takes that out on his opponents every Sunday, which will be great news for all fantasy folks who had to take Justin Jefferson with the No. 1 pick and then didn’t select again until pick No. 344, at which time Gibbs was the highest-rated running back available.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Lions' Defense Boost: NFL.com ranks the Detroit Lions at No. 11, highlighting the considerable upgrades the team has made on the defensive side. Emphasis is on the added talent and depth, which has been clearly reflected in their decision to keep 29 defenders. While 2022 saw them benefit from more sacks and takeaways, this season promises better front seven and improved coverage options.
- Dominant Offense: ESPN also positions the Detroit Lions at No. 11, spotlighting their high-scoring prowess. With an average of 25.7 points in 2022, the Lions are well-equipped offensively. Their strength lies in the solid offensive line, featuring returning Pro Bowlers Penei Sewell and Frank Ragnow. Additions like Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery, and Sam LaPorta promise to further enhance their offensive capabilities.
- Varied Expectations: The Athletic and MMQB rank the Lions at 15 and 9 respectively. The former envisions a best-case scenario where Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell play pivotal roles, possibly leading the Lions to dominate the NFC North. MMQB's ranking is imbued with humor, suggesting Gibbs' potential breakout season could compensate for fantasy drafters' woes.
Bottom Line: Detroit Lions On The Rise
The Detroit Lions, once overshadowed, are now turning heads in the NFL. With a fortified defense and an ever-potent offense, they're poised to make a mark this season. Different power rankings reflect varying degrees of optimism, but the underlying sentiment is clear: The Detroit Lions are a team on the rise.