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Lions vs Saints - Pregame

Half the city of Detroit is excited to see Matthew Stafford start his first game. The other half is just excited to see their beloved Lions. The question on everyone's mind is, how will they fare against the New Orleans Saints?

When the Detroit Lions have the ball

The offensive line will be crucial, not only in protecting the rookie quarterback, but more so in the running game. Kevin Smith is not the scamp back that will bounce around and find his own holes. His progress will depend heavily on the men in front to get some push and open holes. In the preseason the offensive line looked good in the running game, but this is not the preseason anymore.

The Saints defense will pay most attention to Calvin Johnson, so Matthew Stafford needs to look to Bryant Johnson, Dennis Northcutt and Brandon Pettigrew early. If he hits his secondary receivers and Kevin Smith gets some openings, the Saints will be force to leave Calvin in one on one coverage and then Stafford will hit him deep.

Stafford will quickly find that the speed of the game will be another notch faster than it was in the preseason. It will take him time to adjust and by the time he does, it may be too late.

When Saints have the ball

Gunther Cunningham has said the Lions ran a very vanilla defense in the preseason. He plans on coming after Brees with the whole scheme and a lot of new looks on the blitz. It will be critical for the Lions to get to Brees fast. The Saints have one of the best passing games in the NFL and the Lions new defensive backs come with big question marks. The weak point on the Lions defense is the defensive line and its lack of ability to push the pocket. The Lions will have to blitz and blitz a lot.

The good thing is I believe the Lions defense is much improved in stopping the running game. The extremely fast running back might still find the occasional break down and take one the length of the field, but for the most part the Lions don't seem like they will give up 5 yards every carry.


If the Lions can get to Brees early and often, they may have a chance to be in the game in the fourth quarter. After that, anything can happen. Unfortunately, Brees is too good to hold back for long and he will break loose for some long passes against the Lions. Matthew Stafford will be a bit shell shocked in his first game and we might see something close to his third preseason game where he threw the ball over everyone's heads.

Final Score

Saints - 27
Lions - 17

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