After winning two games in a row, the Detroit Lions walked into a swing contest with the Minnesota Vikings and fell flat. As a result, their playoff hopes are nearing the final stages of life support. Also as a result, the Lions begin their slide back down the national power rankings, as writers with faint shreds of hope begin to jump ship one by one.
Here's the full report from the media rankings as the Lions prepare for their first game of 2012 against the Green Bay Packers.
ESPN: 17. Last Week: 14th. Dan Graziano moves the Lions down three spots in the rankings this week, saying there's too many holes on offense and defense this year for Detroit to compete in the division. That's looking more true as every slow start and defensive meltdown combine to slow any hint of momentum the team can build in 2012.
CBS Sports: 20. Last Week: 18th. Pete Prisco isn't as negative as you might expect this week, saying the Lions have to be considered one of the biggest disappointments of this season , which is true. Mysteriously, Prisco also says there's a chance to right the ship against Green Bay, but wonders if there's enough defense. Detroit has been wondering that all year, Pete.
Fox Sports: 18. Last Week: 12th. Brian Billick throws water on any hope of the Lions making the playoffs this week as he too moves the Lions down. With Sunday's loss, the Lions are 0-3 in the NFC North. Since 1970, only five teams have started winless in the division and still made the playoffs. Now, apparently, it's time to make history or be history.
Pro Football Talk: 17. Last Week: 14th. Mike Florio also moves the Lions back, but admits that Calvin Johnson played well on an injured knee. He's probably Detroit's best hope against the Green Bay Packers, meaning that knee had better be feeling just as good this Sunday.
Sports Illustrated: 18. Last Week: 15. Don Banks isn't a believer in Detroit's faint playoff hopes, either. He points out that the Lions went 3-3 in the tough NFC North last year, helping them out in the standings. This year, with the Packers still looming twice, Banks doesn't see it happening. He also brings the "l word" into the discussion, as in "last" place. Uh oh.
Highest Ranking: 20th
Lowest Ranking: 17th
Their Overall Consensus? The Lions really needed to win against Minnesota, but failed to get the job done, meaning their playoff hopes are fading. With plenty of uncertainty on offense and defense and three losses in the NFC North before facing the Packers, the odds of the playoffs are looking terrible. Still, a final opportunity exists against Green Bay. Lose that, it's lights out. Win that, Detroit might live to see another week in the playoff race.
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