NFL Week 15 power rankings: Detroit Lions break into top 10

The Detroit Lions (6-7) have now won five of their last six games and are making plenty of noise throughout the NFL. As their playoff hopes climb, and the national media gushes over their progress, their ascent through the power rankings continues it’s upward trajectory.

Once again, it’s NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus who provided the best quote from this weeks power rankings, simply stating: “These Lions are for real.”

Let’s take a look at this week’s NFL power rankings.

NFL.com: 10 (Previous: 17)

From Dan Hanzus:

“These Lions are for real. Dan Campbell’s team continued to roll the opposition on Sunday, this time piling up 464 yards on the NFC North-leading Vikings in a 34-23 wins at raucous Ford Field. The offense is led by Jared Goff, who is playing quarterback at a very high level right now. The veteran threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, and he did not thrown an interception in five weeks. Goff and Co. will face a stiff test with a Week 15 trip to the Meadowlands to face the Jets. If this offense proves it can travel against a tough defense in the elements, we’ll be talking about a playoff team in Detroit come January.

The Athletic: 10 (Previous: 15)

From Bo Wulf:

“Are we out over our skis in ranking the Lions over the Vikings despite the four-game difference in their records? Here’s a blind comparison:

Team A: 12th in overall DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), seventh in offensive DVOA, fifth in offensive EPA per drive, 24th in defensive DVOA, 32nd in defensive EPA per drive, point differential of plus-2.

Team B: 21st in overall DVOA, 18th in offensive DVOA, 17th in offensive EPA per drive, 22nd in defensive DVOA, 20th in defensive EPA per drive, point differential of minus-1.

Team A, of course, is the Lions, who have given their fans real hope for the first time in a very long time. It seems too appropriate that one long-suffering fan base is guaranteed to have their hearts broken following this weekend’s Lions-Jets game with huge playoff implications.

Yahoo Sports: 11 (Previous: 16)

From Frank Schwab:

“It’ll be a shame if the Lions don’t make the playoffs. They’re currently better than the Commanders, Seahawks or Giants, the three teams ahead of Detroit for the final two wild-card spots. The Lions have no excuses for a putrid 1-6 start that put them in this hole. But they’re playing really well now, and have been for six weeks.”

USA Today: 13 (Previous: 18)

From Nate Davis:

“For the first time in the super bowl era (since 1966), they’ve scored at least 25 points in five consecutive games. Not only can Detroit become the first team since 1990 to overcome a 1-6 start to reach the playoffs, it’s also primed to get a lot better in 2023 with two more first-round picks – including the Rams’, which is likely to be in the top five.”

MMQB: 16 (Previous: 20)

From Connor Orr:

“To beat down a tired, Detroit-themed cliche, the rubber has finally met the road for Dan Campbell. All of his coaching theatrics have taken hold, and a talented mauling group of football players are operating at their best with a thin sliver of playoff hope ahead.”

ESPN: 17 (Previous: 20)

From Eric Woodyard:

“There’s no denying that the Lions’ offense is capable of putting up big numbers on any team in the league — scoring at least 30 points in seven games this season. Defensively, however, they aren’t great at stopping anyone, either. The Lions’ D is allowing 403.2 total yards per game and 26.7 points per game, which are both the second-highest marks in the league.”

The Ringer: 17 (Previous: 18)

From Austin Gayle:

“The Lions are the fifth-ranked offense in points per game, and Jared Goff is the no. 4 quarterback in EPA per dropback behind just Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, and Josh Allen. If their defense wasn’t literally the league’s worst, we’d be talking about a Lions team in contention for the NFC North crown and not a long-shot wild-card contender.”

Curious note: I “literally” can’t figure out which stat Gayle is using to make his claim about the Lions’ defense being the worst in the NFL. It’s not the standard points allowed per game stat that most who make this claim go to, that belongs to the Cardinals. It’s also not the other go-to, yards allowed per game either, that’s the Vikings. Plus, both these stats are skewed by early season results—when they were “literally” the worst—and don’t reflect how the team has performed over the last six games.

Sporting News: 17 (Previous: 22)

From Vinnie Iyer:

“The Lions have all their key offensive pieces back healthy around Jared Goff and their strong line, and it’s showing with their explosion, especially at home. But it’s really Aidan Hutchinson and the defense that have sparked the big turnaround.”

CBS Sports: 18 (Previous: 19)

From Pete Prisco:

“They are making a playoff push, which is impressive. Jared Goff has been outstanding.”

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