Gus Kattengell’s Saints Report – Lions Playoff Game
Well the post season is upon us. The New Orleans Saints finishing the 2011 regular season campaign with a 13-3 record. Detroit finished 10-6 and are in the postseason for the first season since 1999. The game is a rematch of the December 4 meeting that went the way of the Saints 31-17.
The theme this week at Saints camp is remembering just how close that game was, in that Detroit did plenty to hurt their chances. 11 penalties for 107 yards. A turnover. 2-11 from third down. Saints head coach Sean Payton knows the win didn't come easy back in December.
New Orleans built a 24-7 lead by halftime and many thought it was going to be over, but Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod expected that the Lions might be able to make a comeback.
The Saints did a solid job of keeping Calvin Johnson from dominating in the first meeting (Johnson had over 244 yards receiving last week against Green Bay), limiting him to just 6 catches for 69 yards. Saints safety Roman Harper knows that keeping tabs on Megatron as he is known, will be key come game time.
Saturday will also feature a pair of QBs that have passed for over 5,000 yards this season. Drew Brees, who has the season record at 5,476. Lions QB Matt Stafford passed for 5,038 yards. Brees mentioned this week that the Lions are healthier and are playing better then when they met in December and that it'll be important to play well.
Hearing those things though probably worries some Saints fans, who likely haven't forgotten the crushing upset in Seattle last season. Brees tells those fans, not to worry...
Detroit's defense got torched for 6 touchdowns by Packers backup QB and former LSU Tiger Matt Flynn. Sure we're happy for the kid, but come on. So I do feel the Saints will be able to score, move the football. What will be key is avoiding turnovers and sacks. The Lions sacked Brees twice back on December 4, and that was without star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who will play Saturday.
I still think the Saints will pull it out, they are favored by 11 and think that is way too much. Lions will make the Who-Dats sweat a bit, Saints make plays, and call on that postseason experience in the fourth quarter and win it 34-30.