The Detroit Lions scored the second most dominating win in the NFL last weekend (behind only the Chicago Bears), and that performance helped to get their record back to 4-4. At the season's midway point, despite everything that went wrong early, the Lions are merely a half game out of a playoff spot with plenty of games left. Their offense is picking up while the defense is quietly playing well. The national power rankings boost them up even higher this week, as the pundits wonder if a second half run from a scary offensive team might be underway.
In addition to that, the writers rap on the returning connection between Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the superb play of young Ryan Broyles and even the venerable "Madden curse" that might not be overpowering Johnson as much in 2012, after all.
ESPN: 14. Last Week: 17th. Dan Graziano issues a warning to the rest of the league this week. The Lions, he says, are only a half game out of a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Stafford to Johnson connection is picking up steam once again. That's definitely a good reason for teams to "watch out" as Graziano puts it.
CBS Sports 18. Last Week: 19th. Pete Prisco remains a believer, making the accurate claim that the last two weeks have the Lions back in the playoff race. The dangerous passing game, which is starting to pick up steam in recent weeks, will make Detroit a dangerous foe in every game they play, Prisco says. Not arguing either one of those points, and you certainly can't forget a running game that's grinding out consistent yards, ether.
Fox Sports: 12. Last Week: 12th. Brian Billick, like Graziano, sees a bit of a flame between Stafford and Johnson once more, even if they haven't connected for a touchdown yet. Billick also gives some deserved credit to rookie wide out Ryan Broyles, who's been excelling ever since Nate Burleson went down with a season ending injury. He is going to be a star for some time.
Pro Football Talk: 14. Last Week: 16th. As everyone knows, Johnson was featured on the cover of Madden 2013 this season, leading plenty to believe he would be cursed. Apparently, "Megatron" is just a bit superhuman, as the curse has slowed his production slightly, dinged him up but not wiped him out completely. Mike Florio says plenty of players would sign on for this, and he's right.
Sports Illustrated: 15. Last Week: 17th. Don Banks lauds the way Detroit's offense is coming together by mentioning the impressive ground game and then recognizing the surprising contributions of Broyles and the return of Johnson. He uses the perfect word to describe the Lions' recent offensive exploits: multi-faceted.
Highest Rank? 18th
Lowest Rank? 12th
Their Overall Consensus? The Lions' offense is finally coming back after a second straight excellent performance. The running game is doing well, and Stafford and Johnson might finally be finding their footing together as the high flying passing game seems to have returned. All of this will combine to make the Lions a dangerous team down the stretch, as they're finally back in the playoff picture.Calvin Johnson, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Matthew Stafford, NFL, Ryan Broyles