To get ready for the 2013 season, Pride Of Detroit's writers weighed in with predictions on a variety of topics. You can make your own predictions by voting in the poll at the end of this post, and you can see what our writers had to say below.
First up: What will the Detroit Lions' record be in 2013?
Sean Yuille: 8-8
I expect 2013 to be more like 2011 than 2012. I don't think the Lions will flame out and have another 4-12 type of season, and I believe they will be in the mix for a playoff spot going into the final month of the season. I don't expect them to actually make the playoffs, though. The schedule is quite difficult, and although they've made a lot of improvements, I just think it would take some really good fortune for them to go beyond 8-8 and return to the playoffs.
Jeremy Reisman: 9-7
This is the hardest season to predict in recent memory. We've seen the potential of this team when luck is on their side in 2011, but we all witnessed the other shoe drop last year. The Lions have a bunch of new, shiny tools this season who bring a bunch of talent but also a lot of questions. Will Larry Warford and Riley Reiff be able to jump right into their new offensive line roles and be successful? How will a defensive line full of brand new defensive ends play? Is the secondary full of young talent or unfulfilled potential? I know none of the answers to these questions. No one does. But the answer to them is the difference between a 5-11 season and an 11-5 season.
The Lions' success this year will fall predominantly on the offense's ability to finally stabilize. If the preseason is any true sign of what is to come (and it may not be), the Lions are in for another bumpy ride this year. I think the defense will be improved, and good enough to win games, but if the offense can't play consistently and live up to the talented roster's potential, the Lions will lose more games than they win.
But enough babbling. I think the Lions will be better than they've shown in the preseason, but will still show some signs of offensive struggles. This is admittedly based more on faith than anything else. So, with a heavy doubt weighing me down, I will fight through it and predict a 9-7 season for the Lions in 2013.
Brian Packey: 9-7
Despite having the NFL's second-toughest schedule based on last year's records, the Lions' schedule should play out to be middle of the road this year with the opportunity for more wins than some might think. As I said in my KSK preview, they start and finish the season against Christian Ponder at home and Ponder's inevitable replacement on the road, respectively, get Washington early enough that RGIII may still not be 100 percent and play the Packers and Ravens on the national stage at home. Their other tough games that scare me, not counting divisional matchups -- Cinci, Dallas, Tampa Bay and NYG -- are all at home. 9-7 hasn't been good enough to make the playoffs as a wild card since 2007 (Philly made it at 9-6-1 in 2008), and I don't think 9-7 is winning the North, but I think it will surprisingly sneak the Lions in this year.
Christopher Tomke: 11-5
Everything that went wrong in 2012 goes right for the Lions in 2013. Reggie Bush rounds out the offense, an improved (and healthy) secondary increases their takeaways and the team avoids any special teams or coaching disasters that cost them games.
Eric Shinabarger: 8-8
The Lions’ success in 2013 will rest largely on their success within the division. Particularly, the Lions need to show an ability to pick up divisional wins on the road. Both Week 4 in Chicago and Week 17 in Minnesota are the types of winnable divisional road games that playoff-caliber teams are able to pick up.
Nick Catoni: 9-7
My pessimistic side tells me I’ll be watching the clock run out on the season against the Vikings, and the Lions will be finishing with a 6-10 record. But I’m tired of that attitude. So I think the Lions go 9-7 with a win at Lambeau. I don’t know if 9-7 gets the Lions into the playoffs, but a win in Green Bay will feel like a Super Bowl victory at this point.