The Lions are in that vast pool of teams that in any year can go anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6. The way the NFL is now designed you have 3-4 truly pathetic teams and 3-4 truly elite teams and everyone else goes into the "6-10 to 10-6 camp" based on breaks, injuries, and what happens in the last 5 plays of a game. I suppose this is an upgrade from where they were 5 years ago.
Looking at schedule they have the 6 home and homes with division opponents; allowing for the annual traditional loss @ Green Bay, and thinking Minnesota overachieved last year and Chicago loses something with Urlacher retiring, 3-3 seems feasable in the division.
Non division home games: Bengals, Cowboys, Bucs, Ravens, Giants. Bucs are probably only team they are clearly superior to, but since these are home games they should go 3-2 in this group.
Non division road games: Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Steelers, Eagles. It is a pretty weak schedule actually - the Browns are poor, the Eagles will be in transition with a new coach, the Cardinals are meh. They have not won in RFK since humans came to the New World, and even Charlie Batch could beat them in Pittsburgh so I say 2-3 or 3-2 here.
That puts them at 8-8 or 9-7 on paper. Again perfectly in the 6-10 to 10-6 sphere the NFL wants... just good enough to give people hope, just bad enough to not have a chance to match up with a team like the 49ers when it counts.
The team loses 5 of 9 starters on the lines from last year, including both offensive tackles. While Backus is not viewed as favorably in the town as is here, by game 5-6 I expect "I miss Backus" to be a chant. The interior of the Lion should be better by subtraction as Peterman is gone and he might have been the worst guard in the NFL. The DT's lost some depth with Corey Williams and Sammie Hill, so Suh and Fairley will play more, probably wear down more. I do like the guy they signed from Chicago last week as the DE. Ansah will be fun to watch...hopefully 4-5 sacks this year. Like Peterman, KVB was a total non factor last year (after having a solid year the prior year) so any warm body should be an upgrade. LBers lost a starter from an average group and will be replaced by someone who obviously was not better since he didn't displace Durant last year. Secondary should be better with Glover as one of the safeties if nothing else. Hoping 2nd round pick Slay grabs the starter position at CB and Bentley goes into the nickel. WRs should be ok esp if Broyles is healthy, and RB should be upgraded with Bush as a replacement for Best.