It’s a rematch of week 13 in Saturday’s late game as Detroit looks to avenge a 31-17 loss and pull off what would be a huge upset in New Orleans. For the Saints this will be their third straight post-season as they try to avoid a second consecutive wild card round upset loss. The Lions on the other hand are in unchartered territory: this is their first playoff game since 1999, and they are seeking their first playoff win in twenty years.

 

#6 Detroit Lions (10-6) at #3 New Orleans Saints (13-3)
8:00 ET on NBC
Television Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya
Radio Announcers: Dave Sims, James Lofton and Hub Arkush

Opening Line: New Orleans favored by 11
Current Line: New Orleans favored by 10½
Over/Under: Opened at 59; closed at 59½, 60 or 60½ depending on whose numbers you use.

 

By The Numbers:

Lions Offense
29.6 points per game – 4th
396.1 yards per game – 5th
300.9 passing yards per game – 4th
95.2 rushing yards per game – 29th
23 turnovers – 11th

7.6 yards per pass attempt – 12th
63.5% pass completion – 5th
41 passing touchdowns – 3rd
16 interceptions thrown – 19th
97.2 quarterback rating – 5th
36 sacks allowed – 17th
257 yards lost on sacks – 20th

4.3 rushing yards per carry – 13th
9 rushing touchdowns – 23rd
1 fumble lost – 3rd

Saints Defense
21.2 points per game – 13th
368.4 yards per game – 24th
259.8 passing yards per game – 30th
108.6 rushing yards per game – 12th
16 turnovers – 31st

7.1 yards per pass attempt – 14th
57.8% pass completion – 9th
24 passing touchdowns – 16th
9 interceptions caught – 28th
86.4 quarterback rating – 22nd
33 sacks – 19th
256 yards lost on sacks – 13th

5.0 rushing yards per carry – 29th
11 rushing touchdowns – 15th
3 fumbles recovered – 16th

Saints Offense
34.2 points per game – 2nd
467.1 yards per game – 1st
334.2 passing yards per game – 1st
132.9 rushing yards per game – 6th
19 turnovers – 4th

8.3 yards per pass attempt – 4th
71.3% pass completion – 1st
46 passing touchdowns – 2nd
14 interceptions thrown – 12th
110.5 quarterback rating – 2nd
24 sacks allowed – 2nd
158 yards lost on sacks – 3rd

4.9 rushing yards per carry – 4th
16 rushing touchdowns – 7th
3 fumbles lost – 11th

Lions Defense
24.2 points per game – 23rd
367.6 yards per game – 23rd
239.4 passing yards per game – 22nd
128.1 rushing yards per game – 23rd
34 turnovers – 3rd

6.8 yards per pass attempt – 8th
62.3% pass completion – 22nd
26 passing touchdowns – 22nd
21 interceptions caught – 5th
82.1 quarterback rating – 12th
41 sacks – 10th
271 yards lost on sacks – 11th

5.0 rushing yards per carry – 30th
10 rushing touchdowns – 6th
2 fumbles recovered – 23rd

 

Remember early in the year when there was all that talk by so many about how the Lions had won ten or twelve games in a row (a stat that included four meaningless games last December, and four even more meaningless preseason games), and that because their defense was so incredible they would go undefeated?

Aside from forcing turnovers their defense is quite tame, and now they’re about to face one of the NFL’s most potent offenses. The Saints are a vastly superior team when they are playing at home and you know the Superdome will be incredibly rocking at ear-splitting levels for this night playoff game.

While the Saints defense has been much maligned for their stats, they’ve actually played pretty well late in the season. Since the bye they have given up 24, 17, 17, 20, 16 and 17 points, and in that 24-point game 14 points were scored in the 4th quarter after they had a 25-point lead.

On top of that the Saints are not one dimensional; besides having a great passing game they can move the ball on the ground with four quality running backs – and Detroit is weak against the run. The Lions are allowing opponents to run for 5.0 yards per carry, which is the third worst in the league. New Orleans led the league with 38 drives of ten plays or more this season; I think as the game wears on the Lions defense will wear down while the Saints offense will just do whatever they want to.

 

Prediction: Saints 35, Lions 20

I’ll put one unit on the Saints minus 10½ and two units on the total to be under 60½.

 

For more on the two teams check out:

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Times-Picayune – NOLA.com
Shreveport Times

Detroit Lions
mLive.com
Detroit Free Press
The Detroit News

 

 

 

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