New Orleans Saints-Detriot Lions: New Orleans Tries To Keep Detroit Winless

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2008

While the New Orleans Saints (7-7) aren't in contention for a playoff spot , they will try to continue their bid for a winning season against the winless Detroit Lions at Ford Field. 

The Saints' passing game, led by QB Drew Brees, who has had a sensational, MVP-caliber year (65 percent completion rate, 4332 yards, 28 touchdowns through 14 games), should have a field day against the Lions' below-average secondary, which allows 220.9 passing yards per game.

However, Detroit DE Dewayne White (six sacks) and DT Cory Redding (three sacks) could get some pressure on Brees on his blindside.  But not enough to shake him.

Even with power RB Deuce McAllister likely sitting the game out with a knee injury, New Orleans still has some dangerous runners. 

With Reggie Bush on the injured reserve, Pierre Thomas, a multi-dimensional second-year player out of Illinois, should dominate on the ground and in the passing game.

While Bush spells Thomas long enough for Thomas to stay fresh.  Bush also has to work himself back into game condition after missing so much time this season because of injuries. 

Detroit LBs Paris Lenon and Ernie Sims (202 combined tackles) should be able to contain Bush and Thomas a bit, but not enough to make a difference.

While the Lions do have a few decent players on defense, the Saints' offense will just be far too much for Detroit to handle.  New Orleans could probably put up 60 on the Lions' sorry defense. 

If you have any of the Saints' offensive players on your fantasy team, and you haven't been eliminated from the playoffs, this would be a particularly opportune week to start them.

Contrary to what some think, the Lions normally are not totally inadequate at offense.  RB Kevin Smith provides a consistently good ground game, and QB Daunte Culpepper takes advantage of his veteran savvy to make plays, mostly to notable WR Calvin Johnson. 

But Smith, who could probably have already reached the 1,000-yard mark on the ground if his team didn't have to pass so much as a result of trailing late in so many games. He has 773 yards, and may not play this week due to an ankle injury.  He is listed as questionable.

Smith's backup, Rudi Johnson, has only carried 76 times for 237 yards and one touchdown.  Johnson has only started four games this year.

And Culpepper, who gave the team a shot in the arm when he joined the Lions mid-season, is doubtful with a shoulder injury.

That leaves Dan Orlovsky, who ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety earlier in the season in a home game against the Vikings, to start at quarterback for the Lions.  That is, unless head coach Rod Marinelli names either Drew Henson or Drew Stanton the starter.

Detroit does have a decent, if thin, group of wide receivers, led by Calvin Johnson, with Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald among others, but if those players don't have a QB that can get them the ball, then their value plummets.

Still, the Lions have no offensive weapons that reasonably change the outcome of the game, so even the Saints' lousy defense shouldn't have much trouble minimizing their scoring.

The special teams battle is moot.  The Lions' offense would probably have better field position following kickoffs, but the Saints would probably have better field position following punts, and both teams' kickers are accurate and dependable.


There's no question about this game.  An incredibly high-powered Saints' offense against a helpless Detroit defense. And a Lions' offense that has no weapons whatsoever should make for New Orleans' easiest, best defensive game of the year.  I've got the Saints in a huge blowout.