The New Orleans Saints (2-2) and Drew Brees welcome in the Detroit Lions (3-2) this Sunday. The game will start at 1:00 EST from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in a matchup won by Detroit the last three years. The game can be found on FOX in local markets and on NFL Sunday Ticket.
New Orleans has had a great three-week stretch. They handled Carolina, a playoff contender, 34-13 in Charlotte. Then they blanked Miami 20-0, another game on the road, before getting a bye week.
QB Drew Brees is still one of the league’s best, even at the age of 38. He has yet to throw an interception in 152 attempts this season, and has a completion percentage a touch under 70%. Once again, their success goes through their passing game, with WR Michael Thomas living up to his surprise 2016 season. Meanwhile, rookie Alvin Kamara has been a boost to both the run game (5.0 YPC) and air attack (20 receptions).
The Lions have a pretty good QB of their own in Matthew Stafford. He’s overcome a lack of protection to throw for nine touchdowns against a single pick. He doesn’t have a ton of talent around him on the offense, but Golden Tate is indeed a reliable target.
Their defense is improving, but is still uneven. They’re allowing the fourth-most yards through the air, but have as many interceptions (seven) as touchdowns allowed through the air. They’ve been very consistent in stopping the run, giving up only a 3.3 yard-average.
The Lions are currently 4-point underdogs on the road.
The Saints have lost the last three games between these two teams, but they are better equipped than in any of those games. They’ve only lost one game after a bye week since 2009. Coach Sean Payton always gets them prepared to another degree with an extra week to prepare.
Also, the Lions are giving up way too many yards in the passing game. Drew Brees can shred a secondary like this. He has plenty of options to go to, with six different receivers over 100 yards this season. The Lions have been able to keep the air attack out of the end zone more often than half the league. But the interceptions the Lions have had to halt drives will be at a premium. Brees hasn’t thrown a pick all year, and he’s played better defenses than this.
The Saints will have to step up their play against Stafford, as this game could end up with far more than the over/under score of 50. But if the Saints can get stud DE Cameron Jordan going, there are plenty of chances to pressure Stafford. The Lions are the fourth-worst team at protecting the QB, giving up 18 sacks.
New Orleans is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games, while Detroit is only three of their last 10. The Saints are fresh and have had extra preparation, and that can’t be understated. Look for them to be the better-executing team in the passing game. And that’s what matters most in a battle of two teams who heavily rely on it.