The NFL playoffs are finally here, and the wildcard round
has some big lines and intriguing match ups. When the Lions travel into New
Orleans, the line is certainly big. The Saints have seemed unstoppable over
their last six games, and are still unbeaten at home, and they will still be
The NFL odds opened with the Saints way out as 9.5 point favorites but the spread has opened further, to 10.5. The total is up to 59.5 already.
Lions go marching home
These two teams played each other just over one month ago in
the SuperDome, and the Saints kept up their reign of dominance. The Lions
killed themselves on penalties; committing 11 for 107 yards total. This reason
alone is why the Lions won't win this game. When you are as young and
inexperienced as the Lions; giving up dumb penalty yards to a defense that
could use the help, or Drew Brees; you are mailing it in. The Lions were able
to move the ball on New Orleans in that game, but not well enough to keep up
with Brees. The Saints' quarterback had three touchdowns and 342 yards passing.
He finished with a quarterback rating of 129.6.
The Saints also have a sour taste in their mouths from
getting knocked out of the wildcard playoff round last season to a team that didn't
even deserve to be there. Now that they are at home, a place where they are
unbeaten both straight up and against the spread, the Lions will simply be a warm-up
for what is to come for Drew Brees and company. I picked them to win the Super
Bowl and the Lions are only in the playoffs because the Bears got hurt down the
What to watch for
The Lions are about as one dimensional as they come. They
can sling the ball all over the field. However, they cannot run the ball
effectively at all. Additionally, their defense was a big disappointment down
the stretch. They finished in the bottom third in overall defenses, averaging
close to 400 yards per game allowed. In six of their last seven games, the
Lions gave up over 32 points per game to their opponents. The Saints will look
to take advantage early and often. The Lions simply do not have enough talent
in their secondary to keep up with the Saints' pass attack. Plus, New Orleans'
run game has been outstanding all year; something they lacked last season.
The one thing that the Saints will do in order to keep the
Lions down will be to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Calvin Johnson.
They will let the likes of Nate Burleson and Titus Young beat them. If those
two end up with a pair of touchdowns; the Saints will cruise to victory. The
Saints will most likely play a little more zone coverage than normal; in order
to send the double team over to Megatron's side of the field.
The Sharp Pick
Congratulations Lions fans. You made it to the playoffs for
the first time in over a decade. You better get all the celebration and
jubilation out of your system, because the Saints are on a war path unseen
since the blitzkrieg. These two teams have faced each other three times over
the last four seasons, and New Orleans has won them all by a combined score of
118-51. The Saints will dominate the offensive side of the ball and will win
easily by a pair of touchdowns or more, covering the spread and winning in my NFL picks.
My Pick: Saints -10 ½