New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions
Two teams in solid playoff position face off on Sunday Night Football as the New Orleans Saints host the Detroit Lions. The Saints are -8.5 point favorites over the Lions with an over/under point total set at 53.5.
The New Orleans Saints are on a mission to get back to the Super Bowl and while if the season ended right now they wouldn’t even have a first round playoff bye they have been playing solidly and are on a three game winning streak and lead the NFC South. Drew Brees is having an All-Pro caliber season completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 3,689 yards with 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Saints have a stable of capable running backs with mark Ingram averaging 4.0 yards per carry and scoring four touchdowns, Pierre Thomas averaging 5.0 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns, and Darren Sproles who is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and who has also caught 62 passes. Jimmy Graham is New Orleans’ leading receiver with 67 catches and eight touchdowns, Marques Colston has 45 catches and three touchdowns, and Lance Moore has 39 catches and five touchdowns. Defensively the Saints have 22 sacks, 15 fumble recoveries, and six interceptions and have a minus three turnover ratio while they allow 361.4 yards and 22.8 points per game. Roman Harper has 73 tackles and 6.5 sacks, Jo-Lonn Dunbar has 61 tackles, and Malcolm Jenkins has 57 tackles as the Saints haven’t been as opportunistic in years past but they have managed to overcome it. New Orleans is one of the few teams with a minus turnover ratio and a winning record let alone first place in the division.
The Detroit Lions got off to a flying start to the season but as of late they are 2-4 in their last six games and slipping out of the playoffs. Matthew Stafford has managed to stay healthy this year and he has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 3,119 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Lions’ biggest problem is the lack of a running game with Jahvid Best gone for the season and with Kevin Smith now back in the fold sharing time with Keiland Williams. Calvin Johnson is one of the top receivers in the game but he is seeing big time coverage but even so he has 63 catches and 12 touchdowns, Brandon Pettigrew has 54 catches and three touchdowns, and Nate Burleson has 46 catches and two touchdowns. Defensively Detroit has 29 sacks, 11 fumble recoveries, and 15 interceptions and have a plus six turnover ratio and they are allowing 329.5 yards and 22.4 points per game. The Lions’ defense will be without Ndamukong Suh who is suspended for two games but DeAndre Levy has 81 tackles, Stephen Tulloch has 68 tackles, and Cliff Avril has seven sacks. The Lions have a ton of talent across the board but it is their lack of a running game, not necessarily the loss of Suh, that will be their undoing if they fail to make the playoffs.
New Orleans is 5-0 against the spread in their last five home games, 5-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 2-6 against the spread following a win of 14 or more points. Detroit is 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven home games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five games as a road underdog, and 10-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record.
The total in this one is set at 53.5 and even though it is near eight touchdowns these teams have the firepower to go over the total.