Saints vs. Lions: How New Orleans Takes Care of Business

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Sept 25, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derek E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Saints Offense vs Lions Defense

Detroit’s defense is literally “middle of the pack” in every statistical category: 15th in points allowed (21.5), 14th against the pass (250yds/game), and 15th against the run (102.5).

The Saints meanwhile, are simply the most powerful offense in the league; averaging 319 yards in the air (1st), 114.6 yards rushing (9th), and are the only team averaging over 30 points per game (30.4).

Rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas has emerged into a star, running back Mark Ingram is running like a man possessed, and Drew Brees is getting solid pass protection and is using the entire field better than he ever has.

The Lions do have some players on this unit. All-Pro defensive end Ezekial Ansah can be a dominant force, although he has been slowed by injuries this season (Ansah is questionable coming into the game today).

The Saints will benefit from the fact that the Lions will be missing talented linebacker DeAndre Levy, ruled out with injury. Tahir Whitehead is a tackling machine at the other linebacker spot, but he has been declared OUT for today’s game as well.

The Lions do and they have playmakers in the secondary with cornerback Darius Slay and safety Glover Quin.

Look for New Orleans to use wideout Brandin Cooks early and often, after being held without a single reception in last week’s blowout of the Rams.

Ingram and Tim Hightower should find running room against this defense, but it will be important to convert every red zone opportunity into touchdowns, as the Lions tend to stiffen close to the goal line.