Taking a look ahead at the big games for Detroit in 2014, the next week up is number seven, where the Lions host the New Orleans Saints. This is one of the tougher home matchups the Lions face this coming season, as the Saints have been a playoff contender for the last five years running, having made the playoffs four times in that span with one Super Bowl win. A revenge game for Detroit, beating the Saints this season would be a huge statement.
The last time Detroit played New Orleans was the 2011 season in the playoffs. The Lions lost that game after an impressive start where they led at halftime 14-10.
The Saints have won the last four meetings with the Lions, in fact, the last time Detroit beat them was in 2005. Joe Lombardi, new OC for the Lions, came from New Orleans where he has worked extensively coaching Drew Brees and helping to game-plan for the Saints offense.
Lions Offense v. Saints Defense
The Lions have a well documented passing offense that includes Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. The question is whether they can score reliably against Champ Bailey and Keenan Lewis, no slouches in the Saints secondary. The bigger question here is whether or not Detroit can get the run game going against this tough Saints defense.
Cameron Jordan, who had 12.5 sacks in 2013, has shown incredible ability to get penetration into the backfield, and will need to be game-planned for. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have been Saints before, and have a better idea than others on the team on what to expect. They’ll be able to get yards, but it will be a moderate day for the Lions run attack.
Lions Defense v. Saints Offense
The Saints bring an impressive offensive force to Ford Field in week seven. Drew Brees has thrown for 5,000 yards the last three straight seasons. He has quality receiving targets in Jimmy Graham (TE) and Marques Colston (all-time leading Saints WR), two players near the top of the list at their positions. New Orleans will bring a running back committee to the game led by Pierre Thomas, who can churn out yards taking a handoff or catching a pass.
While Detroit brings a talented and potent defensive line to the contest, this game will be won or lost for the Lions depending upon the play of the secondary. Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis, Bill Bentley and Cassius Vaughn are all going to have to elevate their play if Detroit wants to win this one. Early reports on the Lions secondary sound promising, but the season is still far from here. Drew Brees and the Saints passing attack is a well-known and documented threat, and for the most part these Detroit defensive backs are still young and growing.
This is going to be a loss for Detroit. It might be close, but the reality is that the Saints offense is potent while the Detroit secondary has been struggling. The Saints defense is decently talented all over the field, and while the Lions will score, they just won’t score as much as the Saints will.