It will be just about a month between meetings but Saturday’s game between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints will have a whole different feel this time around. The Saints will be looking to undo the pain caused by a Wild Card loss in Seattle last year while the Lions return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Drew Brees broke Dan Marino‘s single season passing record and Matthew Stafford joined the 5,000 yards club since the first meeting. The Saints have also lost running back Mark Ingram while the Lions are getting healthier and will have Ndamukong Suh back in the lineup after missing the game in New Orleans due to suspension. I caught up with Who Dat Dish‘s Keith Null to answer a few questions I had in anticipation of the game.
Here we go…
Zac Snyder: Make your case for Drew Brees as the league’s MVP. How upset will you be if he doesn’t win it?
Keith Null: If you set three new promiant NFL records while having the best season a quarterback has ever had, how could you not win the MVP — seriously — it would be the biggest farce in the history of the game if he doesn’t win. Brees 71.2 competion percentage a new record, his 468 completions a new record, his 5,476 passing yards a new record, and 13 games where he passed for over 300 yards is a new NFL record. Rodgers played great without question, but Brees was on a whole other level.
ZS: What is the talk around the Saints fanbase like about facing the Lions in the playoffs?
KN: I can’t say the Lions are the most intimidating teams for the Saints to face considering they already beat them several weeks ago. Also the Saints are a perfect 8-0 at the Superdome this season where they have proven to be an offensive juggernaut and virtually un-stoppable. Let’s be honest in saying the Lions face and uphill battle this Saturday, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be taken seriously. Admittedly Detroit is much healthier this time around and will have star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh back in the lineup making for a tougher game for the Saints.
ZS: Is there any extra motivation because of the playoff disappointment in Seattle last year?
KN: It doesn’t feel as if this playoff game holds any more or less significance because of the early exit the Saints took in the playoffs last year against Seattle. But you would have to be a litte slow not to think that the coaching staff and the players feel they have a little something to prove against Detroit.
ZS: Mark Ingram is out for the year, how much does that change the Saints offense, if at all?
KN: Ingram was a tough inside runner and seemed to be coming into his own before the turf toe injury. With that said running back Chris Ivory has proven to be a better runner than Ingram and has been an absolute beast for the Saints over recent weeks. The offense as a whole will not miss a beat without Ingram, and in fact most fans beleive they are more productive with Ivory in the backfield.
ZS: How do you think the game will play out and what will be the final score?
KN: No predictions, I never make them just out of sheer superstition. All I can say is it will be a great game — may the best team win. WHO DAT!!