Nate VanNorwick: On a neutral field I would give the Lions a fighting chance. However, at the Superdome, where the Saints are practically unbeatable, I don’t see a lot of hope. I think that the game will be closer than people are anticipating, but the Lions go down to the Saints 31-24.
Marty Medvedik: The closer we get to the game, the better I feel about the Lions chances. The lions were without Ndumakong Suh and Louis Delmas for the first game and Nick Fairly who was having his best game of the year missed the second half of that game. Those 3 will make a big difference. Our offense is ALMOST as dangerous as theirs is. Our defense is pretty much the same as theirs, except we have a better pass rush. The pass rush is the one key that can neutralize the Saints and bring them down to our level. It helps greatly that we played a high profile night game there only a month ago. It was one of the worst games of the year and the Lions looked foolish in front of the whole country with all those dumb penalties. These guys have a lot of pride and want to change peoples opinion of them. This very young team will eat up the fact that NOBODY on a national level is giving them a snowballs chance in Hell. You don’t set an NFL record for comebacks in a season if there isn’t something special going on there. Those of us who have followed this team closely since 2009 when Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz and Matthew Stafford joined the team after it went 0-16 the previous season have long suspected something special is developing here. It’s time to start proving it. I only picked the Lions to lose once all year [Thanksgiving game] and today’s not going to be the second. The legend begins – Lions 38, Saints 35
Zach Berridge: You’re either going to see the “same old Lions” or a whole new side of them that stops for nothing, and I’m picking the latter. From the start I expect to see the Lions playing no-huddle with plently of trick plays and fourth down conversion attempts. Detroit it going to need some help in this one, but not as much as you’d think. I believe this one is all about turnover margin, and if the Lions can go +2, it should be enough to pull it off. Lions 38, Saints 34
Mike Olsen: The Lions travel to the Superdome for an NFC Wildcard showdown with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night. This will be a re-match of an ugly game earlier this season in which the Lions self destructed on national television. What was lost in the media fallout was the fact that despite the Lion secondary being a MASH unit, and despite the suspension of Ndamukong Suh, and the early exit of Nick Fairley, and even despite all of the idiotic penalties that the Lions committed; They still had a chance to win that game. In all honesty, Drew Brees is playing like a God, and the Saints can attack a defense in many different ways. But the Lions have several things working in their favor. First, they are as healthy as they have been all season defensively, and the additions of Chris Houston and Louis Delmas against a ferocious passing attack can not be undervalued. Second, there is more parody in the NFL than any other sport, and it is difficult to beat a team twice in the same season. Third, and most importantly, the Lions have no expectations, no pressure, and nobody thinking that they can win. It is a perfect setup for their “us against the world” mentality that they are taking into New Orleans. Having no pressure allows a team to play aggressively, and leave it on the field. The last time I doubted the Lions they trounced San Diego 38-10. Obviously this is a better opponent, but I’ve got a feeling that we are in for something special Saturday night, whether it is a Lion playoff victory, or a hard fought, “battle to the bitter end” defeat, I can’t doubt these Lions anymore. Detroit Lions 38, New Orleans Saints 34
Chris Czar: Despite claims otherwise, the Saints and the National Media are completely overlooking the Lions. At least for the Saints, it will be a mistake. The Dec. 4th contest was more competitive than we’re being told. Despite numerous factors working against them, the Lions competed with the Saints and could have pulled off an upset if they played smart. Stafford has progressed significantly since then and should pick apart the Saints who clearly make defending Calvin Johnson their priority. Look for Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler to have big games. The key will be getting some stops on defense. If Louis Delmas is healthy, he might help give the defensive line just enough time to rattle Drew Brees and create some turnovers. Lions win an instant classic on a late TD. Lions 35, Saints 34
Zac Snyder: I am stoked to watch the Lions in the playoffs again. I didn’t expect them to get here but I’m not surprised and I feel the same way about Saturday’s game. I don’t expect the Lions to win, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if they do. They won’t face anything they haven’t seen before thanks to an early December trip to the Superdome so this game really should come down to who is better on that particular day rather than a list of intangibles. When making a prediction I have to come down on the side of what I believe to be most likely. Unfortunately, that’s a win by the Saints. New Orleans Saints 33, Detroit Lions 27
Ross Husson: Can Detroit’s offense keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints? That is the biggest question mark coming into the playoffs. The Lions are going to play a great game on the defensive side of the ball in order to give the Lions a victory. However, I just don’t see it happening. The Saints are undefeated at home and come in to the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFL. The Saints rememeber last year, losing to the Seahawks who were arguably the worst team to ever be in the playoffs. As much as I don’t want it to happen, Saints 35, Lions 27.