Football Outsiders has Detroit Lions with under-.500 2015 record

One of the potential perils of being a franchise with a successful season is there's a good chance your schedule the following year will be more difficult than the one that led to the winning season in the first place.

Typically for the Detroit Lions, this hasn't been an issue. In 2015, it could be. When the schedule first came out, the Lions were highlighted as a team with many marquee matchups, including prime-time games against Seattle, Denver and New Orleans.

According to Football Outsiders, the Lions have the fourth-toughest schedule in the NFL this season. It's why the group has the Lions with a 7-9 projected record for 2015Insider, a four-game down-swing from last season.

I picked the Lions to be 8-8 when I saw the schedule come out last month, in part because of that difficult schedule and since the franchise, on paper, does not look like a better team than the one it put together last season.

The defense lost a multitude of talent on the line (Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley) and while they mitigated some of that loss by trading for Haloti Ngata, signing Tyrunn Walker and drafting Gabe Wright, this defense without Suh is not going to be as good as a defense with Suh.

The Lions spent a lot of draft capital attempting to fix the offensive line and run game with two linemen drafted (Laken Tomlinson, Corey Robinson) along with a running back (Ameer Abdullah) and fullback (Michael Burton).

So a lot of questions remain with this franchise as they enter offseason workouts, but it's a fair enough reason for most projections to have Detroit backsliding to around .500.

There's one other thing to consider and it is something the Lions have been trying to dig out of for years. History does not give the Lions a good chance of being over .500 this season. The Lions haven't had back-to-back winning seasons since the middle of the Barry Sanders era from 1993 to 1995. Detroit hasn't had back-to-back .500-or-better seasons since 1999 and 2000, when the Lions went 8-8 and 9-7.

Since the NFL-AFL merger, the Lions have won 10 or more games in a season six times, including last season. Three of those times, the Lions lost 10 or more games the following season.

So that doesn't bode well for Detroit if you believe history to be a guide.