After beginning their season with a surreal 5-0 start, the Detroit Lions enter Week 13 a reeling squad as they enter one of the league’s most daunting road atmospheres to take on the New Orleans Saints. It seems as if the Lions have snapped back to reality of late, going 2-4 in their past six weeks, while having to endure their fair share of turmoil off the field. Star defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh will be serving the first game of his two-match ban for his vicious stomp last Thursday to Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers. Without Suh, and forced to be without star running back Jahvid Best for the rest of the season, the Lions will need to once again count on star receiver Calvin Johnson to will them to a victory against a dominant New Orleans side.
The Saints have been the opposite to Detroit of late, rolling anybody who stands in their way. They sit atop the NFC South at the moment and have their sights set on locking up a first-round bye in the post-season, especially after their disastrous playoff run of last year. Led by their cerebral captain Drew Brees, New Orleans looks to get their fourth straight victory Sunday evening, and send a message to the rest of the league that they will be a force to be reckoned with in January. New Orleans is fortunate to have four of their next six games at home, where they play exceptionally well, and know this is a prime opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the tight NFC. Against a depleted and struggling Lions squad, don’t expect any pity from the red-hot Saints.
Lions vs. Saints Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Detroit Lions +9 (-110)
@ New Orleans Saints -9 (-110)
Over 53.5 (-110)
Under 53.5 (-110)
Lions vs. Saints Pick:
Without their Pro-Bowl lineman in Ndamukong Suh I can’t see how the Lions can possibly disrupt what is one of the league’s most explosive offenses. After having to endure Rodgers and the Packers on Thanksgiving Thursday, it seems the schedule makers were out to get Detroit in facing Brees and the Saints the very next week. Add in the fact that Suh, Best, and key members of the Lions’ secondary will all be out, and nothing really points to Detroit in this one.
The Saints thrive at home in the spotlight of these primetime contests. As was shown last week, New Orleans can toy with any defense, and is always anxious to prove to pundits of the sport that they too must be considered with the likes of the Patriots and Packers. Brees leads the NFL right in passing yards and should shred a Lions secondary that won’t be able to match up with the Saints’ wealth of talented receivers. Add in the fact that even when Suh was in the line-up this is a Lions team that for whatever reason is simply porous against the run. You’d think with their personnel in the front seven it would have been one of the strengths of this squad, but after 12 weeks of the season, the Lions remain 23rd in the league defending the run. And while running the ball isn’t all that prevalent in the New Orleans game-plan, the Lions defense might just be the cure for Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas to prove their worth and prevent Detroit from only worrying about the aerial attack.
Detroit is also facing a huge battle of injuries within their secondary. Chris Houston, Louis Delmas, and Brandon McDonald were all banged up in their last game, and all of their statuses remain in doubt for Sunday evening. It got so bad that Detroit actually had to use a wide receiver in the secondary in Week 12. A banged up defense will be easy pickings for Brees and the Saints come Sunday night. Though Detroit had a nice little start to their campaign, this is the time of the year where we find out which teams are real and how long they’ll be playing. The Saints have proven they are a focused, and dominant team when need be, and with a first-round bye on the line for New Orleans, they’ll look to enter the homestretch rolling.
Stafford to Johnson has been the NFL’s most dominant duo this season, but lately it’s been a tad cold. Stafford has thrown seven interceptions in his last eight quarters, and though the Saints defense struggles against the pass, they are opportunistic and can create turnovers if the Lions are careless when attacking. New Orleans plays well in these spots, and rarely turns in a letdown performance in front of their home faithful. With Detroit severely depleted at many key positions, and devoid of a legitimate pass-rusher, Brees will be able to sit in the pocket and pick apart the Detroit defense with surgical precision. They’re 5-0 against the spread in their last 5 home games when favoured, and have outscored Detroit 87-34 in their past two meetings. Look for New Orleans to extend that margin even further on Sunday Night Football, and take the Saints by double-digits in a shootout at the Superdome.