Lions season prediction: 9-7

Two years ago, the Detroit Lions won half of their 10 games by one score. In 2012, they lost nine such games.

So we are left to decide: Were the Lions lucky in 2011? Or unlucky in 2012? I think the answer lies somewhere in between, and that's why I'm guessing they'll be slightly better than average in 2013.

There's a lot to like about this Lions team, and not just because they have paired Reggie Bush with Calvin Johnson to form a unique bracket of elite skill-position players. They have remade their defensive line, added new depth and experience to their secondary and overhauled their special teams in what appears to have been a productive way.

The preseason, however, has revealed a few pocks that haven't healed. The second-best option in the passing game, after Johnson, appears to be Bush. The frequent rotation at right guard and right tackle suggests a level of indecision, and eight personal fouls through three games (including unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer, taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct) are a reminder that individual discipline remains an issue.

The Lions have enough talent to make a playoff run, but we should expect them to get in their own way a few times over the next four months.

Predicted finish in NFC North: third