Thursday, September 7, 2023

Detroit Lions Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Detroit Lions in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 10

On the hot seat: QB Jared Goff

Expectations are high in Detroit, and the Lions have reassured Goff that he is their guy. With that being said, it would be a disappointment if the Lions don't reach the postseason after narrowly missing the playoffs in 2022. The Lions finished the season with eight wins in their last 10 games, and Goff's strong play was a major factor -- but they'll need him to be consistent all season in his third year in Detroit. He'll have to produce if he hopes to lock down a long-term deal. Goff is signed through 2024, but the team also drafted Hendon Hooker in the third round of April's draft, so the future isn't so clear for him in Detroit. -- Eric Woodyard -- Rank: 11

Even if the Lions aren't quite as dynamic offensively as they were in 2022, it's hard to imagine their defense isn't vastly improved. Perhaps Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs pick away at them on Thursday night or, say, the Falcons (whom they play in Week 3) grind their way to success against Detroit. But top to bottom, this defense has added talent and depth during the offseason -- which speaks to the Lions keeping 29 defenders on the initial roster. And just look where they're coming from: Last year was a struggle, even accounting for some late-season improvement. More sacks and takeaways helped mask things in 2022, but now they have more impact players in the front seven and better coverage options in the back end. Can coordinator Aaron Glenn make it work with an aggressive, man-heavy scheme? I think so, even with some expected hiccups.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 15

They are a trendy pick in the NFC North, but they have a lot of young players who have never won big games. That matters. They might be a year away.

USA Today -- Rank: 11

They're well positioned to win the NFC North for the very first time — in part because rookies Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch are expected to be significant contributors.

The Athletic -- Rank: 15

Best-case scenario: We all look silly for questioning the resource allocation of first-round picks on a running back and off-ball linebacker as Jahmyr Gibbs becomes the unstoppable Queen for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to move around his chess board, and Jack Campbell brings a ferocity to the defense that makes the whole unit foam at the mouth like Dan Campbell himself. Behind what emerges as the best offensive line in football, the Lions dominate a weak NFC North and earn the No. 1 seed in the conference.

Worst-case scenario: Detroit looks silly for using a pair of first-round picks on a running back and off-ball linebacker. Ben Johnson's magic wears off a bit as Jared Goff comes crashing back down to earth and the Lions realize their "quarterback of the future" is older than Hurts. Despite the offseason additions of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, the secondary gets picked apart again. The cruelest piece of NFL trivia is sustained, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue having won the Lions' division more recently than Detroit has.

FOX -- Rank: 13

Finally, it's time to put up or shut up. No Lions team in history has been as anticipated as this one, as evidenced by their spot in the Thursday night season opener. I have questions about the skill players behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, and I can't wait to see if the defense picks up where it left off last season. Fortunately for the Lions, it's easier to believe when you look at their competition in the NFC North.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 7

I'm interested to see how rookie defensive back Brian Branch fits in the defense. There were good camp reports about him and he showed out in the preseason. We know the second-round pick can hit. He can add a much-needed element to the Lions' defense, which needs to improve if the team wants to win the NFC North.

PFT -- Rank: 14

It's great to get attention and respect. But no one will view them as an easy team to beat this year, which will make every game harder.

Previous updates:

More Detroit Lions pages:

Check out more of our content:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) like us on Facebook and/or (3) subscribe to our newsletter.