Playoff Game Prediction(s): New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions

Kevin HansonAnalyst IIIJanuary 5, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints stands on the field during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There were three quarterbacks that threw for 5,000-plus yards in the 2011 season. Two of them will meet in New Orleans.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees set a number of passing records this season: yards (5,476), completions (468), completion percentage (71.2) and 300-yard games (13) to name a few. Yet I had him finishing second in the MVP voting when I predicted postseason award winners earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford, the top overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, threw for 5,038 yards, but as importantly he stayed healthy for a full 16-game season after playing in only three games last year. Of course, he would have not thrown for 5,000-plus yards without playing a full season.

The Lions are in the postseason for the first time since 1999 and this game is destined to be a shootout, which means it'll be 9-6, right?

For the entire playoffs, all of the contributors including myself will make a prediction (including the final score) for each playoff game.

Here are the predictions from the crew for the the Saints-Lions game:

John: New Orleans Saints 38, Detroit Lions 34

New Orleans has been unbelievable this season. They've won their final eight games of the season, and finished 8-0 at home. Drew Brees annihilated Marino's single-season passing yards record and put himself in MVP contention, a feat that looked impossible a few weeks ago, considering the season Aaron Rodgers has had. There is absolutely nothing that says that the Lions will win this game. I've gone back and forth on this game, but I just can't pull the trigger. The Saints at home are just too good. And the Lions still have an immature, mistake-ridden group that needs to become more disciplined before they will be among the favorites to win it all. I do expect the Lions to come out with a lot of energy and even rattle Brees a bit. In the end, though, home field and the most explosive offense in the league will simply be too much for Detroit.

Sean: New Orleans Saints 37, Detroit Lions 31

Detroit blew it this past week vs Matt Flynn and the Packers. Nobody wants to play the Saints at home right now. Drew Brees and the Saints offense is clicking on all cylinders. The only way to beat the Saints is to beat them in a shoot out. When you get opportunities versus the Saints in the redzone, you have to convert those to TDs and not FGs. Detroit is fourth in the NFL in converting TD's in the redzone. Detroit is also third in the NFC in takeaways while New Orleans is last. This game is going to be closer then people think, although I think Detroit's inexperience will be their downfall.

Dan: New Orleans Saints 38, Detroit Lions 28

In a game that has the potential to post the most offensive fireworks in playoff history, as both teams surpassed the 5,000-yard passing mark for the year. The Saints have been the leagues hottest team down the stretch, and look almost invincible at home since they posted a perfect 8-0 record. The Saints have been on fire lately as in their last three games they have posted 40 plus points in each, and won by an average of 25 points. The Saints and Lions also faced off in December in New Orleans with the decision going to the Saints, 31-17. The Lions were able to move the ball on the Saints gaining 466 total yards of offense, and if they can stay away from the turnover, they have a great chance to pick off the Saints. I like the Brees-led Saints passing attack just a little bit better than the young Lions 22nd-ranked passing defense that has yielded 26 touchdowns on the year. I am taking the Saints, 38-28.

Steve: New Orleans Saints 45, Detroit Lions 33

If you like points, you’ve come to the right game. Not sure what Vegas has now, but pretty sure you want to take the over. I expect this game to be Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees setting playoff records at their respective positions. NFL “pundits” have questioned Johnson’s ability and desire to take over a game and this will be his moment to prove them wrong. I could easily see 200+ yards and two TDs for Johnson, unfortunately he will be handicapped by his quarterback. Stafford is a good, young, QB, however, he’s overmatched in this game and his 300-plus yards and three TDs are going to overset by three picks, not to mention overshadowed by Drew Brees. Brees throws 400 yards and 6 touchdowns and another notch in his Hall of Fame resume. The Saints offensive jugernaught slowly pulls away in a game that looks like it could go either way.

Kevin: New Orleans Saints 48, Detroit Lions 42

Imagine if this were a college football game (or that their overtime rules were used for this game)? This could end up being a 91-84 shootout in eight overtimes or something ridiculous like that. The Lions are coming off a game in which Matthew Stafford and Packers backup Matt Flynn combined for 1,000 passing yards. So, this week, substitute Brees, who set the single-season passing yardage record this year, for Flynn and let's see what we get. With both teams having explosive offenses, the question comes down to which team is more likely to muster a stop or two and I think that team is New Orleans. With the Super Dome being one of the toughest places to play for road teams, the Saints will outlast the Lions in one of the highest-scoring playoff games in NFL history.

More Predictions: Texans vs. Bengals | Broncos vs. Steelers | Giants vs. Falcons

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