With the Detroit Lions set to host the New Orleans Saints in a big week 7 matchup, the Sidelion Report staff gives their take on what they see ahead.
Alex Reno – This game makes me feel a bit uneasy. Though the Lions’ offense doesn’t exactly resemble the Saints’ offense, there still must be a lot of similarities which makes me think they have a slight advantage. You could also argue that Lombardi has seen Rob Ryan’s defense up close, so it could be a wash. Either way, the Saints are not very good on the road and are 1-7 in their last eight road games (0-3 this year). I think the Lions will win a close, low scoring battle. Lions 17, Saints 13.
With the First Pick
Braden Shackelford – I originally picked the Lions to win this game when I did my pregame Q&A with Who Dat Dish, but the more I think about this game the more I get the feeling that the Lions are going to get upset at home for the second time in a row. The Saints may be awful on the road, but this game is in a dome and unlike Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham may play this week. Even if Graham doesn’t play this week the Saints are a scary 5-0 after the bye week. I also anticipate the Saints playing with a chip on their shoulder after a 2-3 start. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the Saints win this one, 21-17
Kent Platte – The Lions defense gets its first big test against Drew Brees and the Saints. Can Teryl Austin pull out another outrageous defensive showing against a SB winning QB? He allowed less than 165 yards passing to the last two he faced, both wins. I don’t think he’s as successful against Brees, but I do think he forces errors. Brees hasn’t been sacked often, but he has been pressured a lot on 2014 and I expect the Lions fearsome front four to do some damage whole the secondary picks him apart for some turnovers. The Lions offense faces an easier battle than they have of late, but without Johnson and potentially Ebron I’m not expecting a huge showing. Saints win a close defensive contest, 24-23.
Who Dat Dish
Darin Ackerman – The Lions/Saints match-up should prove to be an interesting one. The 2-3 Saints will be coming off their bye week, looking to improve their record. The good news for Detroit is that the game is on home turf, as all three losses for the Saints have come on the road. Not to mention, veteran QB Drew Brees struggled to get in sync with his receivers in the Saints most recent matchup, throwing three interceptions versus Tampa Bay.
Detroit’s defense should be able to exploit the surprisingly stagnant New Orleans’ passing attack. Be on the lookout for Quinn to add another turnover to his resume. With Jimmy Graham’s questionable status for Sunday’s game, Brees will struggle to find another reliable target in his absence.
If the Lions can run the ball with some success, and if Matt Prater has worked through his “back in the saddle” nerves, Detroit should be able to handle New Orleans at Ford Field on Sunday. Prediction: Lions 20, Saints 13.
Zac Snyder – So much of the talk this week has been about the Saints finally providing a test for the Lions’ defense. A big performance will go a long way towards proving the doubters wrong, even though the stats prove that the Lions’ lofty ranking isn’t just because they’ve played some poor offenses. I’m buying in and expecting the offense to make just enough plays to get the win. Lions 23, Saints 20.