Could Kalif Raymond be a big x-factor for the Lions against the Saints on Sunday?

The Lions need another wide receiver to step up, but could it be Kalif Raymond on Sunday against the Saints?

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Amon-Ra St. Brown is having another fantastic season, with 82 receptions for 993 yards and five touchdowns. But no other Detroit Lions' wide receiver has more than 27 catches and 440 yards. Josh Reynolds has struggled lately, and while Jameson Williams is emerging big numbers aren't there just yet.

Kalif Raymond, however game script and soft Packers' coverage-related, had his best game of the season in Week 12 (five receptions for 90 yards). His deployment pattern, with over 37 percent of his snaps coming out the slot (per Player Profiler) overlaps a lot with St. Brown, but there's a case for Raymond to play more going back to coming out of the bye week. It just hasn't really happened, with 17, 13 and 24 snaps in those three games.

Raymond's role as the Lions' punt returner may naturally diminish his offensive role and snap count to some degree. But that's a flimsy reason to not get him on the field more.

Could Kalif Raymond be a huge x-factor for the Lions against the Saints on Sunday?

In ESPN's game-by-game Week 13 preview, analytics guy Seth Walder pointed to Raymond as a potential x-factor in Sunday's game.

"Matchup X factor: Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond. He's coming off a 90-receiving yard game and is ranked in the top 10 in open score. Is it possible Raymond is having a late-season breakout into another target for Goff?-- Walder"

The Saints are looking a little thin in the secondary. Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore is on IR, and starting safety Marcus Maye will be out on Sunday. The domino effect points to favorable matchups for Raymond. As Jared Goff looks to rebound from back-to-back turnover-filled games, he could find another trusted target roaming loose in the New Orleans' secondary.

Raymond's ultimate impact on Sunday's game may not be volume-driven. But a few big plays in the passing game would be a welcome sight, and as overlooked potential impact players go he's a good one to keep an eye on.

Next. 3 players who will be huge x-factors for the Detroit Lions down the stretch this season. 3 players who will be huge x-factors for the Detroit Lions down the stretch this season. dark

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