Expert predictions for the 2017 Detroit Lions

Lions kick off preseason on Sunday

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DETROIT - The Detroit Lions are just weeks away from kicking off the 2017 NFL season.

The team will look to return to the playoffs after losing in the wild card round last season against the Seattle Seahawks. 

As for predictions, it seems nobody really knows what to expect from this team. Some say they could surprise everyone and win the division. Some think the Lions will regress into a bottom dweller.

Here's what some are saying about the 2017 Detroit Lions:

USA Today: Detroit Lions (5-11): It just feels like they lived on the edge way too often in 2016, and smoke and mirrors may not be enough against this year's lineup. However if DE Ziggy Ansah rebounds, and RB Ameer Abdullah finally gets going, cynicism could turn to optimism.

Sporting News: Detroit Lions (11-5): Stafford had arguably his most effective and efficient season in 2016, his first without Calvin Johnson. Unlucky for the offense that now, for possibly the entire season, they have to do it without tackle Taylor Decker because of offseason shoulder surgery. A bounce-back by Ameer Abdullah running the ball would help. If rookies Jarrad Davis and Teez Tabor walk right in and contribute, the defense will be more than good enough.

Sports Illustrated: Detroit Lions (9-7): Jim Caldwell made some curious decisions in late-game situations last year that likely cost his team wins but didn’t cost them a playoff berth. Still, Caldwell has delivered two winning seasons in three years for the first time since 1995–97. Can Matt Stafford build on the best year of his career?

NFL.com: Detroit Lions: They win the NFC North: Admittedly, this is a tough sell. Predicting the Lions will win a division they haven't ever won (the NFC North was formed in 2002) already feels shaky after two sentences. Yet, there are reasons to think Detroit could pull off beating out Green Bay for the top spot. Start with addition by subtraction, as the Lions signed former Packer guard T.J. Lang in free agency. General manager Bob Quinn further bolstered the offensive line by adding tackle Ricky Wagner. Each should help running back Ameer Abdullah stay on course. Abdullah merely needs to stay healthy. This team was on its way toward winning the NFC North last year until Matthew Stafford injured his middle finger. How many teams can survive their starter hurting his throwing hand in the midst of a playoff run? No major injuries and no Hail Marys might mean an end to the days of merely sneaking into the postseason.

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