The Detroit Lions dominated last year's power rankings, often times placing within the top five and top 10 at several points during the year. This year, they start the season a bit underrated on the periphery of the top 10. A tough comeback win against the underrated St. Louis Rams won't do much to inspire confidence with cynical writers, so the Lions are reeling a bit in the rankings as a new season begins.
Here's a breakdown of the national media's opinion of the Lions following their opening act.
ESPN: 13. Last Week: 12. Dan Graziano moves the Lions down one spot, worrying about Matthew Stafford's three interceptions. He notes that Stafford did author another epic comeback, though. As a young quarterback finding a way in the league, there are worse things to be known for than consistently coming back.
CBS Sports: 15. Last Week: 15. 2012's return of the always loveable and affable Pete Prisco, who keeps the Lions right where they are in his rankings. He takes a subtle dig by saying things had better improve before the trip to San Francisco, and thinks things weren't pretty against the Rams. Things aren't always pretty in football, but when you're 1-0, everything's alright.
Fox Sports: 15. Last Week: 15. Brian Billick uses some seriously impressive math to show Graziano and Prisco why everything wasn't a total loss on Sunday afternoon. Yes, Billick admits the Lions got off to a slow start, but he also points out the quarterback rebounded to complete his seventh career fourth quarter comeback, and likely won't struggle like that all of 2012. In only three seasons, leading seven comebacks is still impressive no matter how many times you have to do it.
Pro Football Talk: 12. Last Week: 12. The Lions hold steady in Mike Florio's rankings as well, and he pokes some fun at the Sam Bradford-Stafford connection. With the 0-16 Lions on the clock, many felt Bradford stayed in school to avoid Detroit. Stafford ended up there, and Florio points out he couldn't avoid throwing the ball to St. Louis defenders this time around.
Sports Illustrated: 16. Last Week: 13. Don Banks returns to the fold by putting in his two cents about what he calls the "handshake bowl." Instead of pretending it never happened, Banks believes the two coaches should actually embrace the event, tackle it head on and have fun with it. He suggests coming out in eye black and boxing gloves for the coin toss. It's a great idea, but methinks Roger Goodell wouldn't enjoy it too much.
Overall Consensus? The Lions and Matthew Stafford struggled early against St. Louis, and had better play much improved or they could fall victim to a struggle against the 49ers. Still, Stafford rebounded to lead the team to his seventh fourth quarter comeback win, which was impressive.
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