By Ian Palmer
The New Orleans Saints will be paying the Detroit Lions a visit this Sunday, October 19 when they battle it out in one of this week’s better NFL match ups. The 2-3 Saints had week six off with a bye and are ready to return to action at Ford Field against the 4-2 Lions, who beat the Vikings 17-3 last time out. New Orleans sits in second place in the NFC South and are aiming to edge closer to the Carolina Panthers. The Lions head into the game in first in the NFC North.
bet365 NFL Betting Line – Saints vs Lions
- Game Details: New Orleans (2nd – NFC South) at Detroit (1st – NFC North) at Ford Field KICK OFF – 1:00 PM ET
- Point Spread: New Orleans (+3.0) at 4/5, Detroit (-3.0) at 21/20
- Over/Under: 48.5 points 10/11
- Money Line – To Win: New Orleans 6/5, Detroit 5/7
- Head to Head: New Orleans is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings
- Match up Summary: The Detroit Lions had a solid defensive outing against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday with a 17-3 win to improve to 4-2. New Orleans are 2-3 on the year and just enjoyed their bye week. New Orleans, led by QB Drew Brees, possess the second-best offense in the league this season with 442.8 yards per game on average
New Orleans Saints:
- Overall Record: 2-3
- Record Against the Spread (won-lost-push): 1-4-0
- Home Record: 2-0
- Away Record: 0-3
- Over/Under Record: 4-1-0
The Saints are 0-3 on the road and that trend will need to be reversed if they hope to capture the NFC South this season. Quarterback Drew Brees has nine TD passes this season and is averaging 314.6 yards in the air per game. But on the other side of the coin he’s also been picked off six times in five outings, with three of them coming against Tampa Bay in a 37-31 win in overtime. Tight end Jimmy Graham leads the team with three TDs, but it looks like he’s going to miss the next couple of games with a sprained shoulder.
Wide receivers Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks are having good seasons, but they’re not on the same level as Graham. Cooks gained 255 yards on 32 receptions with a TD and Colston has caught four 20-yard or more passes so far. They’re going up against the NFL’s second-best passing defense as the Lions concede just 197.2 yards against per game on average. This could lead the Saints to try their hand at rushing, and they’re pretty good at it since their 133 yards per outing ranks them eighth in the league.
Running back Khiry Robinson leads New Orleans in rushing with a pair of touchdowns and 61 carries for 304 yards. He scored the winner against Tampa, but will find the going a bit tougher in Detroit as the Lions are allowing their opponents just three yards each carry. Defensively, the Saints have been struggling when trying to defend the passing game. They’ve allowed 267.6 yards against per game in the air and are fifth-worst in the league with their 28.2 points against per game. Cornerback Patrick Robinson is the only player with an interception, but they’ll catch a break since it looks like the Lions’ top wide receiver Calvin Johnson may miss the game with an ankle problem.
- Overall Record: 4-2
- Record Against the Spread (won-lost-push): 4-2-0
- Home Record: 2-1
- Away Record: 2-1
- Over/Under Record: 1-5-0
The Lions’ passing game has been among the best in the league early in the season as quarterback Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson were combining well together. Stafford goes into the game with 1,592 passing yards after six games,, which ranks him eighth in the league. However it’s hard to say how Johnson’s injury will continue to affect the aerial attack. Stafford’s passing percentage has been below 60 per cent in his past two contests. He gained just 185 yards against Minnesota last week with a TD by going 19-for-33, which was his season low. With Johnson out of action, Stafford has mainly been throwing to Golden Tate instead. Tate scored a TD and gained 134 yards on seven receptions in a 17-14 defeat to the Buffalo Bills a couple of weeks ago. However, against the Vikings last week he had just 44 yards on seven catches.
Detroit may stick to the passing game since the Saints’ pass defense is allowing 276.6 yards against per game. If Detroit decides to rush then they’ll be hoping to have running back Reggie Bush back in the lineup after sitting out with an ankle injury. Bush averages 3.6 yards each carry and the Saints’ run defense is allowing 4.2 yards against per carry. Defensively, the Lions have been pretty tight in 2014. They allowed the Vikings nothing more than a field goal last week and recorded eight sacks against Minnesota’s rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
The Saints offensive line will be tougher to crack though. Brees has been sacked just five times so far this campaign, which is the third lowest in the league. Detroit’s defensive backs could capitalize on Brees’ recent trend of errant however, but so far Detroit is 0-4 against New Orleans with Brees at QB.