Lions vs. Saints: 3 Keys to Detroit Upset over New Orleans in Wild Card Matchup

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 7, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01:  Brandon Pettigrew #87 of the Detroit Lions runs against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are making their first postseason appearance in the last 12 years.

Unfortunately for Detroit fans, the team's time in the playoffs may be very short-lived.

The Lions are set to take on a New Orleans team that looks unstoppable right now. The Saints are one of the hottest teams in football on an eight-game winning streak.

The Lions have a huge hurdle to overcome if they want to survive the first round of the playoffs.

Here are three keys to the team pulling off the upset in their Wild Card matchup.


1. Discipline

There is aggressive football, and then there is stupid football.

Teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers play aggressive football. The Detroit Lions have played stupid football this season.

The last time these two teams matched up, we saw just how undisciplined the Lions are.

Personal foul penalty after personal foul penalty put the game out of reach for a Detroit team that hung around for awhile.

If they continue to play stupid, there is no way they be around by the end of this game.


2. Establish the Run

This may sound like common sense, but it's something the Lions have not been able to do at all this season.

The reason the Saints are one of the most dangerous offenses in the league is because of their diversity. They can run and pass.

The Lions have a vicious passing attack, but can't run the ball with much success.

Running the ball successfully could be the difference between winning and losing this game. The team needs to keep the ball away from Drew Brees as much as possible.

If Kevin Smith doesn't have a big day, the Lions will likely be heading home.


3. Get Up Early

This goes a little bit with being able to establish the run.

If Detroit can get up early, it will go a long way to them having a shot in this game. A quick strike on the first two drives could quiet a loud crowd in New Orleans.

Think about the difference in a 14-0 game with a quiet crowd and a 14-10 game with fans screaming at the top of their lungs.

The Superdome gives the Saints one of the biggest home-field advantages in the NFL.

If the Lions can eliminate that advantage, it could prove to be huge throughout the game.