The Detroit Lions emerged unscathed from their hellacious early season road schedule by stunning the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday with a 24 point comeback win. Following their first three road games, the Lions are a perfect 3-0. Now, as the team prepares for a home field Monday night date with the Chicago Bears, confidence is at an all time high. Not only will the Lions grace Sports Illustrated's cover this week, they also crack the the top five in all the major power rankings. You're not dreaming. Football is back in Detroit, and in a huge way.
This is how the national writers rank the Lions after four weeks and all that comeback madness:
ESPN, 4th. Last Week: 4th. John Clayton, once again writing about the NFC North teams this week, is a great number cruncher. Once again, he proves it by stating: "The Lions are 4-0 with seven remaining home games. Got to be thinking playoffs." That's wonderfully simple math, and yes, everyone around Detroit is thinking about that "p" word. Now, with excitement in Michigan at an all time high, expect those next seven home games at Ford Field to be rocking, and don't be surprised if the crowd makes a difference in several of them.
CBS Sports: 2nd. Last Week: 2nd. Pete Prisco was impressed by the Lions' second large comeback in as many weeks, saying rallying from 27-3 on the road speaks volumes about the toughness of the team, even if Tony Romo helped them. Regardless of who helped or not, the interceptions still have to be thrown and caught. The Lions defense showed immense character on Sunday, and as Prisco says, the toughness of this group is unparalleled. Through four weeks, they might be the most mentally hardened team in the NFL. That should help them as the season drags on and games get tougher.
Fox Sports: 4th. Last Week: 6th. Brian Billick moves the Lions up two spots from last week into his top five, saying the win in Dallas over "America's Team" in "Jerry's World" (Cowboys Stadium) proves the Lions are for real once and for all. He lauds them for being able to come back from 24 down there, as well. We're not going to disagree. The last two road wins in Minnesota and Dallas were special, considering the comebacks mounted and the environment they were done in. Other road venues in 2011 shouldn't intimidate the Lions now.
Pro Football Talk: 3rd. Last Week: 3rd. Mike Florio's take this week evokes a bit of humor, and is too good not to feature entirely. He says: "Get past the Falcons in week five (seven), and the Packers (Lions) could take a 10-0 record into a Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions (Packers)." Florio was flipping the script, suggesting the Lions and Packers could be headed for a collision course of undefeated records which would reach its apex on Thanksgiving Day. There's a long way to go before that happens, but that doesn't make the thought any less appetizing. He's right about one thing: Thanksgiving football in Detroit will likely mean something this year, and that's good news for all.
Sports Illustrated: 4th. Last Week: 5th. Don Banks was kind enough to provide Lions fans with another historical marker to lust after while bumping the team into his top five. Did you realize the last time the Lions started 5-0 was in 1956? Banks calls that to our attention, while lauding the Lions for bringing new excitement week in and week out. He also reminds us that the last time the Lions were 5-0, 20 of the current 32 NFL teams didn't even exist. How's that for some perspective?
Highest Rank: 2nd
Lowest Rank: 4th
Their overall consensus? If the Lions comeback in Minnesota was good, the huge comeback in Dallas was fantastic, even if aided by Tony Romo. It showcased the toughness and character of the team. The Lions, with seven home games remaining, are in great shape for a playoff push. They're also in great shape to continue shattering tired records. Another could fall this Monday with a win over Chicago, which would put the Lions at 5-0 for the first time since 1956.
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