9. Detroit Lions

Last Week's Rank: 13
Record: 7 - 3
This Week: W vs. Panthers, 49-35
Up Next: vs. Packers, 12:30, Thursday
Trending: Up

So much for that fractured index finger! Matthew Stafford threw 27 fewer passes than the previous week, yet had four more touchdowns, six more yards, and only five fewer completions. What's interesting is that this team was playing from behind for the second straight week after Carolina jumped out to an early 24-7 lead. Enter Lions' difference-maker Kevin Smith. Signed as insurance for the injured Jahvid Best, Smith erupted in just his second week back in the league with 201 total yards and three touchdowns. Funny how much better a passing offense can run when it has an efficient back in the mix. For the first time in years, the Lions will be playing for something in their famed Thanksgiving Day game. Unfortunately for them, the Packers are rolling into town, so they still might lose. —Tony Markovich