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Los Angeles Rams’ slide is good news for Detroit Lions’ draft position: NFL power rankings

The Detroit Lions are a year or two away from being competitive, and their path to getting there is through the NFL draft.

That’s why, with this year’s No. 1 pick all but locked up, the most intriguing storyline as it relates to the Lions these next six weeks is whether Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams can recapture their winning ways.

Stafford played MVP-caliber football while leading the Rams to a 7-1 record to start the season, but in a story that should sound familiar to Lions fans, has struggled of late as injuries have taken a toll on his game.

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Packers' Kenny Clark sacks Rams' Matthew Stafford during the second half Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.

Packers’ Kenny Clark sacks Rams’ Matthew Stafford during the second half Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.

Stafford has thrown pick-sixes each of the past three games, and the Rams have dropped three straight.

The Lions, of course, own the Rams’ first-round pick each of the next two years, and while L.A. has built a no-doubt playoff contender, there’s a difference between being a wild card team that loses in Round 1 and a team that’s contending for the Super Bowl.

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The Rams currently slot as the fifth seed in the NFC. If that seeding holds, they would spend most if not all of the postseason on the road. The Arizona Cardinals, owners of the best record in the NFL, are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and if they beat the Rams in two weeks (for the second time this season), they’ll all but assure themselves the NFC west crown.

The worse the Rams do, the better the Lions’ second first-round pick will be next spring, and there is of course no telling how high that pick can climb in 2023.

The New York Jets (Nos. 4-5), New York Giants (Nos. 6-7) and Philadelphia Eagles (Nos. 8-9) all have two first-round picks this year that currently project as back-to-back selections in the top 10. The Jets certainly weren’t banking on getting a potential top-five pick when they traded safety Jamal Adams to a Seattle Seahawks team most pegged as an annual playoff contender last summer, but 16 months later that’s where they stand.

Plenty more draft talk ahead the next few months, but for now it’s on to this week’s power rankings:

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Power rankings

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

6. New England Patriots (8-4)

7. Buffalo Bills (7-4)

8. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

10. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

11. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

12. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

14. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

15. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

16. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

17. Denver Broncos (6-5)

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

19. Washington Football Team (5-6)

20. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

21. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

22. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

24. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

26. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

27. Chicago Bears (4-7)

28. New York Giants (4-7)

29. New York Jets (3-8)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

31. Houston Texans (2-9)

32. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions’ NFL draft position gaining ground with Rams’ slide

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