Senior NFL Columnist

NFL Power Rankings: Lions at No. 6, but can we believe in them?

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Is it time to start believing in the Detroit Lions? They are in first place in the NFC North and the two teams right behind them seem to be falling off because of quarterback issues.

The Lions (6-3) are up to sixth in this week's Power Rankings, and they've earned that spot, but why do I still doubt their Super viability?

Is it their lack of discipline at times, like when Nick Fairley hit Josh McCown late Sunday in the Lions' victory against the Bears on Chicago's late drive to a touchdown?

Or is it because they are ranked 24th in total defense and 27th against the pass? Or maybe it's because the Lions are 21st in rushing offense. Whatever the reason, admit it, you still have questions about the Lions.

I do.

But I will say this: They are now the clear NFC North favorite, and with a favorable schedule, I can see them in the playoffs.

After that, who knows?

We know Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson is as good as any passing combo in the game. We know Reggie Bush adds that "air back" dimension to the offense. The offensive line also is surprisingly the best in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass play. The Lions need to be better on defense. If they can get those numbers up in the second half, which means better play in the secondary, they will be dangerous come playoff time.

They have the quarterback to get it done, which -- as we know -- is what the postseason is all about.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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