2023 NFL Power Rankings Wild Card Edition: Detroit Lions considered contender
We have successfully made it through the 18-week NFL regular season, and now, we shift our focus to the NFL Playoffs! As you have heard by now, our NFC North Division Champion Detroit Lions will be hosting Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams this coming Sunday night in the Wild Card Round. That said, here is how the Lions fare in the NFL Power Rankings heading into the Playoffs.
Where do the Lions Rank?
Current Power Ranking: 4th
Week 18 Ranking: 4th
What happened to the Lions on Sunday is the reason the Ravens and 49ers rested their frontline players. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, who was fifth among tight ends this season with 889 receiving yards, suffered a hyperextended knee and bone bruise.
His timeline for return hasn’t been determined, but he could miss their playoff opener. That could be a problem for a team that leans heavily on the league’s fifth-most prolific offense (27.12 ppg).
Current Power Ranking: 5th
Week 18 Ranking: 5th
It's not just the Sam LaPorta injury, which obviously isn't great for the Lions' offense if he can't play this week. Detroit's defense is an issue, too. The Lions have given up 300 yards passing in three straight games, twice to Nick Mullens and the Vikings. That's not great with Matthew Stafford and the Rams coming in for a wild-card game.
Current Power Ranking: 6th
Week 18 Ranking: 7th
There will be a lot of discussion concerning Dan Campbell’s decision to play his starters against the Vikings. Although a win kept the possibility of the No. 2 seed alive, the difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds are negligible.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Injury Concerns: The Detroit Lions' tight end Sam LaPorta, a significant contributor to their offense, suffered a knee injury, casting uncertainty on his availability for the playoffs. This poses a challenge for the Lions, who have the fifth-highest scoring offense in the league.
- Defensive Vulnerabilities: The Lions' defense has shown weaknesses, particularly in pass defense, having conceded over 300 passing yards in their last three games. This vulnerability is a critical concern as they prepare to face Matthew Stafford and the Rams' potent passing attack in the Wild Card round.
- Strategic Decisions: Head coach Dan Campbell's choice to play starters in Week 18, despite already clinching a playoff spot, has sparked debate. While this decision maintained the team's chances for a higher seed, it also exposed key players to injury risks.
As the Detroit Lions prepare to host the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round, they find themselves in a strong position, ranking between 4th and 6th across various NFL Power Rankings. However, their playoff journey is shadowed by concerns, particularly regarding Sam LaPorta's injury and a defense that has shown susceptibility to strong passing offenses. These challenges will test the Lions' depth and strategic adaptability as they embark on what promises to be an intense and competitive postseason battle.