Dec 21, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) tackles Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) during the second quarter a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Saints Defense vs Lions Offense
The reason for the Lions low offensive ranking is that they have a not-so-hot (and horrible at times) running attack, averaging only 81 yds per game (30th in the league).
The Saints defense has played pretty well against the run all year, surrendering less than 100 yards per game. There is little reason to believe that Detroit will be able to control this game on the ground, thereby putting their fate on QB Matthew Stafford vs the Saints pass defense that gives up over 270 yards per game.
Cam Jordan, Nick Fairley, Sheldon Rankins and Dannell Ellerbe have provided a strong pass rush in recent weeks; particularly against teams without the threat of a running game. Look for this to continue, hopefully pressuring Stafford into some of the mistakes that plagued him earlier in his career.
Lions WR Golden Tate is Detroit’s leading receiver with 57 receptions for 617 yards, but has only scored 2 touchdowns. Tate has tortured the Saints in the past with big plays as both a Lion and Seahawk. Expect Delvin Breaux to draw the bulk of coverage duties there.
Theo Riddick is definitely not a top-end running back, but does provide a major threat out of the backfield as a receiver. It will once again be vital for linebackers Craig Robertson and Ellerbe to contain the short pass and neutralize Riddick and dangerous tight end Eric Ebron.
Aside from these three, only receivers Anquan Boldin and Marvin Jones have more than 10 catches for this Lion team. However, Jones has also been ruled OUT for today’s game.
Expect Saints rookie Vonn Bell to make a couple big plays from his free safety position. The Saints do have the players to shut this Detroit offense down, and continue the improved play they’ve shown over the last month.
The Saints certainly hope that this game does not come down to a last minute field goal. New Orleans’ special teams woes have been well chronicled, and Detroit’s kicker, Matt Prater, is among the best in the league.