Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) runs the ball against Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 22. Detroit Lions

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

22.  Detroit Lions (NFC North)

2013 Record:  7-9

Head coach:  Jim Caldwell – Caldwell has had some success as a head coach in his previous stint with the Indianapolis Colts.  However, a 2-14 season in 2011 resulted in him being fired.  He resurrected his head coaching chances as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens and helped them win a Super Bowl.  Now he will have even more talent on offense with the Lions.

Best offensive player:  Calvin Johnson, wide receiver – Arguably the best receiver in football, Johnson has the most lethal combination of size and speed in the NFL.  But the Lions have been lacking other receiving talent to go around him, however that may be changing in 2014.

Best defensive player:  Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle – Suh is one of the most controversial figures in the NFL, but is also one of the top defensive tackles.  He has the ability to play well no only against the run, but is a very good pass rusher as well.  His best football might be ahead of him.

Rising Star:  Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end – Ansah had a very good rookie season in 2013, as he led the Lions in sacks with 8.  With Suh and Nick Fairley on the defensive line along with him, Ansah will have plenty of opportunities to increase his sack total this season.

Best new addition:  Golden Tate, wide receiver – Golden Tate led the Seattle Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards last season, and was essentially their number one receiver with Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice out injured.  Now he comes to the Lions where he’s the clear number two behind Calvin Johnson, and his presence should help to upgrade the receiving unit.

Biggest offseason loss: Louis Delmas, safety – Delmas was a fixture in the Lions secondary for five seasons.  He was a quality safety for the Lions and although he’s not irreplaceable, his absence leaves a question mark in at safety.

Biggest strength:  The Lions biggest strength is their talent on offense.  Starting with Calvin Johnson and Tate at wide Receiver, and with Caldwell working with him, quarterback Matthew Stafford should have a much better season in 2014.  Reggie Bush is a solid runner and a good receiver out of the backfield.  And at tight end the Lions have a very good tandem in Brandon Pettigrew and rookie Eric Ebron.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Lions biggest weakness is at cornerback.  The Lions went through free agency and the draft without adding a whole lot at cornerback, and they cut one starter Chris H0uston in the offseason.  If the starters Rashean Mathis and second year man Darius Slay struggle or get injured, then the Lions may have problems at cornerback.    2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams


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