Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Detriot Christians

About to face the New Orleans Saints, the Detroit Lions must be shivering with fear. Between gulps of anxiety, they've got to be quietly asking themselves: "Do we have a chance against these guys?" These Lions probably feel like those doomed Christians did facing real lions in those coliseums thousands of years ago.

These Saints don't appear mortal. Their offense is otherworldly, boasting mind-boggling stats: a 16-game total of 7,434 yards, compiling more than 435 yards in each of the last six wins, piling up 617 yards in the season-ending, 45-17 rout of the Carolina Panthers--the team's eighth victory in a row. That's not all. Saints' QB Drew Brees threw for a record 5,476 yards and has surpassed the 300-yard mark in eight straight games. If Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady weren't having such great seasons, Brees would unquestionably be The Man.

Do the Lions have a chance to slow down this offensive juggernaut? Probably not, when you consider in its last game, a 45-41 loss to the Packers, the second-string Green Bay QB, Matt Flynn, set team passing records--480 yards and 6 TDs. Imagine what Aaron Rodgers would have done. Unless Brees gets sloppy and starts throwing picks, the Saints should score at least 35.

Detroit's only chance is to outscore the Saints--something they could easily do. Like Brees, Lions' QB Matthew Staffford has also passed for more than 5,000 yards this season  In that Packer loss, Stafford ran wild, passing for 520 yards and five TDs. In three out of the last four weeks, the Lions have scored at least 34 points. So yes. they're quite capable of torching the Saints.

In their only meeting this season, the Saints whipped the Lions, 34-17, on Dec. 4 in the Superdome. But the Lions were missing key players on defense--cornerback Chris Houston, saftey Louis Delmas and their bull, Ndamukong Suh. That trio is playing this time. The Lions could win a scorefest but, in New Orleans, where the Saints haven't lost this season and are averaging over 41 points a game, that's unlikely.

The Lions, though, are a good bet to beat the 10-point spread. If you're betting the over/under, which is 59 points, take the over.