Here we are. The Lions are in the playoffs for the first time in a long, long time. Fans have been hoping for this moment since last season ended and some have been waiting much longer. It is going to be tough for the Lions to continue their journey with a trip to the Super Dome in their way. Below are three things that Lions can’t afford to do against the Saints on Saturday.
1. Get rattled
For many Lions, this will be the biggest game of their lives so far. They will be playing in the franchise’s first playoff game in over a decade. To top that, the young team will go into arguably the most hostile and loudest place in the entire league. The Lions will have to fight through the nerves and play the way they have throughout the season. The Lions can’t be timid and nervous to make plays. Instead, they will have to stay aggressive and set the tone of the game. Also, emotions will be high because of the electric atmosphere that will be in the Super Dome. The Lions must be able to keep their emotions in check and not commit personal fouls that aren’t needed.
2. Stop throwing to Megatron
You can expect the Saints to be all over Calvin Johnson come Saturday. I’m sure they’ll have double coverage on him for most of the night and will make it tough for Stafford to get him the ball. However, Calvin Johnson will need to get the ball in order for the Lions to win. Calvin Johnson may be the biggest reason the Lions are in the playoffs this year. Most of us can agree that Megatron is the best receiver in the NFL right now. When he has single coverage, Matthew Stafford has to take advantage and throw his way. Even with double coverage, I still think it is important to try and give Megatron opportunities. Big time players make big time plays and the Lions will need to go to their big time player.
3. Commit bad penalties / turn the ball over
It is going to be an extremely tough task on Saturday. The Lions can’t afford to make it any more tough on themselves with self-inflicted wounds. In December when these two teams played, the Lions committed 11 penalties for 107 yards. I can guarantee you that if the Lions commit that many penalties again against the Saints, they won’t win the game. On the other hand, New Orleans only had 3 penalties for 30 yards. In that game, the Lions only turned the ball over once which isn’t bad. However, the Saints didn’t have a single turnover.