A weekly examination of the Lions’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 24 | Last Week: 16 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
Welcome to the top 10, Detroit. The Lions haven’t been here since the last week of the 2011 season -- also the last season Detroit made the playoffs. Since then, Detroit has been as low as 28th (the end of last season) and mostly lived in the middle of the Power Rankings pack.
But a win over Chicago this past weekend gives the Lions an early first-place hold in the NFC North and some confidence heading into Green Bay on Sunday. The thing is, these Lions are appearing more legitimate by the week. They have two big-play threats on offense in Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, an accurate quarterback in Matthew Stafford and an offensive line that is blocking well for both the running and passing games.
The key has been the Lions' defense. After failing to intercept a pass from Jay Cutler the past two seasons, they picked off the Bears quarterback three times on Sunday. The defensive line also allows for defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to scheme well in the back seven. Detroit, more and more, looks like a playoff contender.