Season Preview: Detroit Lions

Sports Mole takes a look at the Detroit Lions' chances during the upcoming NFL season.

Having finished bottom of the NFC North last season, the only way seems to be up for the Detroit Lions this season.

The Lions failed to beat a single divisional opponent last season, a record made even more disappointing by the fact that they had reached the playoffs the season before.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at the Lions' chances of improving on that record this time around.

Head Coach: Jim Schwartz

Last Season: 4-12

Review: Things started well enough for the Lions as they beat the St Louis Rams 27-23 in their opening match of the season, but that would prove to be a false dawn for Schwartz's side.

They lost their next three matches, including a 44-41 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans on September 23.

Things looked to be taking a turn for the better in October as they won three of their next four games, but a 31-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week nine proved to be their last success of the season.

The Lions lost their last eight matches of the year, leaving them bottom of the NFC North by some way.

Notable Ins

Reggie Bush: The arrival of Reggie Bush will give the whole Lions squad a big lift. The 28-year-old running back is a former first-round Draft pick having been selected by the New Orleans Saints second overall in 2006. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Saints and has since enjoyed a stint at the Miami Dolphins.

Ezekiel Ansah: Ansah was plucked from the first round of this year's Draft by the Lions, being selected fifth overall. The Ghanaian defensive end has already made an impact in the team, scoring an interception in pre-season.

Notable Outs

Jason Hanson: Legends don't come much bigger than Jason Hanson. The 43-year-old was the oldest player in the NFL at the time of his retirement, and he spent the whole of his 21-year career with the Lions. This will be the first time since 1991 that they won't have the kicker in their ranks, and Hanson leaves the league holding a number of all-time records.

Jeff Backus: Backus is another loyal Lions servant to end his career this season, although he will still have some role in the side having been taken on as a part-time coaching intern. The offensive tackle was a first-round pick in 2001 and went on to spend his entire career with the Lions.

Jahvid Best: Having joined the Lions as a first-round Draft pick in 2010, Jahvid Best never truly fulfilled his potential with the side. Injuries prevented him from building on his ever-present rookie season, and the Lions decided to release him after he failed to play a single game last season.

Key Player Offence: Calvin Johnson

Key Player Defence: Ndamukong Suh

Rookie to watch: Ezekiel Ansah

Pre-season form: 3-1

Prediction: 7-9. The Lions certainly have good offensive weapons at their disposal with the likes of Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson and Reggie Bush, but as a whole package they aren't quite at the level to challenge in the playoffs just yet. They should improve on their performance last season, but may have to settle for third in the NFC North.

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Reggie Bush #21 of the Detroit Lions looks to get around the tackle of Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots during a first quarter run during a pre season game at Ford Field on August 22, 2013
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