The Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions have dominated the last place spot in the NFC North Division for the last eight seasons. One or both of them has had sole possession or was tied for last place every season since 2005.
2013 Record: 7-9 (Third in the NFC South)
2013 Offensive Statistics: 24.7 points per game, 392.1 total offensive yards per game, 112.0 rushing yards per game, 280.1 passing yards per game, 22 turnovers
2013 Defensive Statistics: 23.5 points allowed per game, 346.6 total offensive yards allowed per game, 99.8 rushing yards allowed per game, 246.9 passing yards allowed per game, 34 turnovers forced, 23 sacks
Head Coach: Jim Caldwell (First season in Detroit)
Key Returning Offensive Players: RB Joique Bell, RB Reggie Bush, WR Kris Durham, TE Joseph Fauria, WR Calvin Johnson, WR Kevin Ogletree, TE Brandon Pettigrew, C Dominic Raiola, OT Riley Reiff, G Rob Sims, QB Matthew Stafford, G Larry Warford
Key Returning Defensive Players: DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Bill Bentley, S Don Carey, DT Nick Fairley, DT Andre Fluellen, DE Jason Jones, LB DeAndre Levy, DB Rashean Mathis, LB Ashlee Palmer, FS Glover Quin, CB Darius Slay, LB Stephen Tulloch
Free Agent Additions: DE Kourtnei Brown, FB Jed Collins, S James Ihedigbo, DT Corvey Irvin, DE Vaughn Martin, QB Dan Orlovsky, DE Darryl Tapp, WR Golden Tate, CB Cassius Vaughn
Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 10 – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina; Round 2, Pick 40 – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU; Round 3, Pic 76 – Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas; Round 4, Pick 133 – Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State; Round 4, Pick 136 – Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg; Round 5, Pick 158 – Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton; Round 6, Pick 189 – T.J. Jones, WR, Notre Dame; Round 7, Pick 229 – Nate Freese, PK, Boston College
Outlook: The Lions have one of the best passing offenses and a very good run defense. With the need to improve the other areas of their game, their biggest offseason acquisitions have been at receiver and front seven of the defense.
The Lions are going to struggle again to run the ball and stop the pass, which should lead to another below .500 season. Much like the Vikings last season, the Lions will have trouble holding leads late in games.
By not addressing their needs, the Lions had one of the worst off seasons in the NFL. They added no one that can get them another win or two.