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One step forward, one step back.

That's been the pattern record-wise for the Detroit Lions in three seasons under coach Jim Caldwell.

And after having a shot to win their first NFC North title since 1993 last season in the regular-season finale against the Green Bay Packers, USA Today isn't giving the Lions much of a chance to finish atop the division.

In fact, USA Today's Nate Davis predicted the Lions will finish in the NFC North's cellar with a 5-11 mark in the publication's 2017 record projections on Monday.

"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," Davis writes. "However if DE Ziggy Ansah rebounds, and RB Ameer Abdullah finally gets going, cynicism could turn to optimism."

Davis predicts the Packers will claim their second straight division crown and sixth in seven seasons with a 12-4 record, followed by the Minnesota Vikings (9-7) and Chicago Bears (5-11).

Davis also has the Packers advancing to Super Bowl LII but losing to the New England Patriots, who he predicted will go 16-0 and pull off a perfect season.

DETROIT LIONS 2017 SCHEDULE

Sun. Sept. 10, Arizona, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Mon. Sept. 18, at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. Sept. 24, Atlanta, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Oct. 1, at Minnesota, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Oct. 8, Carolina, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Oct. 15, at New Orleans, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Oct. 29, Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)

Mon. Nov. 6, at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. Nov. 12, Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sun. Nov. 19, at Chicago, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Thur. Nov. 23, Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Dec. 3, at Baltimore, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Dec. 10, at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sat. Dec. 16, Chicago, 4:30 p.m. (NFL)

Sun. Dec. 24, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun. Dec 31, Green Bay, 1 p.m. (FOX)

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