The Detroit Lions have lost their previous four meetings to the New Orleans Saints that dates back to December of 2008. Do not be fooled by this statistic though, because these are not the same Saints that we’re prone to seeing.
Who Dat Dish
You’d have to go all the way back to 2009 when the New Orleans Saints didn’t have a top five passing offense in terms of passing yards per game. However, according to FootballOutsiders’ DVOA formula, the Saints’ passing offense is ranked out of the top 15 for the first time since 2005.
It remains to be seen, but if the Saints are without Jimmy Graham who is dealing with a shoulder injury, then that would obviously be huge for Detroit. Graham is currently listed as “Questionable” on the Saints’ final injury report, and will be a game-time decision this Sunday.
The real threat right now is New Orleans’ rushing attack. Currently, the Saints are averaging 5.2 yards per rushing attempt, which is good for second in the NFL behind the Seattle Seahawks. The three headed monster of Khiry Robinson, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram is certainly getting the job done right now, and all have at least two touchdowns and average at least five yards per carry.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have much less to worry about. The Saints are 25th in passing defense, allowing 267.6 yards through the air per game.
If Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense continue to struggle against the Saints’ poor secondary, then it may be time to panic about this offense.
LB Ramon Humber – Ankle – Out
LB Kyle Knox – Ankle – Out
TE Jimmy Graham – Shoulder – Questionable
CB Patrick Robinson – Hamstring – Questionable
CB Keenan Lewis – Toe – Probable
LB Ronald Powell – Illness – Probable
RB Pierre Thomas – Illness – Probable
C Jonathan Goodwin – Knee – Probable
FB Erik Lorig – Ankle – Probable
RB Mark Ingram – Hand – Probable
The Detroit Lions are a three point favorite via Vegas Insider.
Keys To Winning
For the Lions to win, I believe they will have to continue their success at pressuring the quarterback, and putting Drew Brees under duress will be a necessity. Though the Saints currently have arguably the best rushing attack in the NFL, I think you have to focus primarily on Brees, who I still believe is one of the best QBs in the NFL.
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Offensively, the Lions should be able to put some more points on the board than we’re used to seeing. The Saints made plenty of additions this offseason to build a top defense but it hasn’t exactly worked out the way they planned.
While I feel like the Lions match up pretty well with the Saints on paper, I feel a bit uneasy about this game. This could be the fact that the Saints know a little bit about our offense due to our playbook stemming from theirs. Or it could be the fact that Drew Brees has a history of picking our defense apart. Of course these are two different teams, and the Saints are pretty awful away from home losing seven of their last eight road games dating back to last year.
The Lions win a close game at home, and the offense finally gets a bit of a confidence booster with Stafford throwing for over 300 yards for just the second time this year.
Final Score: Lions 20 – Saints 13