Should Saints Fans Worry About Winless Lions?

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IDecember 18, 2008

I've seen this movie before. 

Beware, it's a horror flick.

It seems that every year or so the Saints lose a game that causes fans to swear a little bit louder and more often than usual.  They lose a game to a team that they should easily beat. 

While many of the Saints' losses this season have been agonizing and have driven many fans to drown their sorrows in a six-pack of Abita Amber, the Saints have not had a historical loss yet this season.

Enter the 0-14 Detroit Lions.

The Saints, whose fans were the first to wear paper bags on their heads to the stadium during their own 0-14 start in 1980, face the Lions, whose fans have taken paper bag wearing to a new level.

A loss at Ford Field will top the list of many frustrating defeats for the Saints this season.  It would be the most embarrassing defeat for any team this season.

I have three reasons why Saints' fans should be worried about Sunday's game against the Lions:

1) History

The New Orleans Saints have set a long precedent for losing games in embarrassing and historical fashion.  The Saints have given expansion franchises and rookie quarterbacks their first wins.  They have lost to teams they should have easily handled.


Dec. 11, 1977, New Orleans, LA

Tampa Bay snaps the longest losing streak in NFL history (26) and record franchise's first ever win.  Buccaneers win, 33-14.


Oct. 31, 1999, New Orleans, LA

In Mike Ditka's final season, the 2-4 Saints faced the winless Cleveland Browns.  This was Cleveland's first season back in the league since Art Modell moved the team after the 1995 season. 

With the Saints clinging to a 16-14 lead with just a few seconds left, Browns quarterback Tim Couch hurled a Hail Mary pass into the end zone and the rest is history. 

The new Cleveland Browns and Tim Couch record their first ever victory. 


September 29, 2002, Detroit, MI

Another quarterback gets his first pro victory against the Saints.  This time it's perennial Pro Bowler and future hall of famer Joey Harrington. 

The 3-0 Saints lost to the 0-3 Lions, 26-21.  The Saints finish the season 9-7 and half a game out of the playoffs.


December 22, 2002, Cincinnati, OH

Saints needed one victory in their last three to clinch a playoff spot.  The Saints entered the second to last game of the season at 9-5 against a hapless 1-13 Bengals team.

New Orleans allowed two fourth quarter touchdowns to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Saints fall 20-13.


December 21, 2003, Jacksonville, FL

In Byron Leftwich's first season, the Jaguars had sputtered to a 4-10 record.  The 7-7 Saints were looking to sneak into the playoffs. 

The Saints trailed 20-13 with seven seconds left when this happened. 

John Carney missed the PAT.  Saints lose 20-19.


Okay, enough with the torture down memory lane.


2) Calvin Johnson vs. Saints' safeties

While everyone else in a Lions' uniform seems to be playing sub-par football, Johnson is in beast mode. 

Johnson has nearly 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He's big, fast, and athletic.

The Saints don't have any of that at the safety position. 

If the over/under on Johnson's stats in the game against the Saints is 120 yards and 1.5 touchdowns, I'm taking the over on both.


3) Recent Lions' Momentum

While the Lions have not won a game yet this season, they have played well against quality opponents in each of the past two weeks.

In week 14 against the Vikings, Detroit had the lead at the end of each of the first three quarters only to lose 20-16.

Detroit hung tough with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Lucas Oil Stadium the following week. 

The Lions rallied to score ten straight points in the second half to tie the game at 21.  Detroit, however, fell to a vastly superior Colts team, 31-21.


How will this movie end for the Saints?  Will they be another villain who sacks and pillages the hapless Lions, or will they be haunted by yet another horror movie?

It's time for the Saints to re-write the script.



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