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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  
WILCARDS CIN at HOU PIT at DEN ATL at NYG DET at NO

Prediction: DET 20, NO 34

Line : NO by 11 / OU = 59

Here is the most fun game of the weekend that should easily result in the highest total points. This is a replay of week 13 when the Lions lost 17-31 in New Orleans and while the Lions have been scoring better lately, the Saints are on a three game streak with 42+ points scored. If you are in one of those "one and done" contests, load up on your Lions this week. The is the game that Vegas thinks is the biggest win of the day.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI 13-37
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR 49-35
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB 15-27
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO 17-31
5 CHI 24-13 14 MIN 34-28
6 SF 19-25 15 @OAK 28-27
7 ATL 16-23 16 SD 38-10
8 @DEN 45-10 17 @GB 41-45
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT at NO Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 350,2
RB

Kevin Smith

40 40,1 -
RB Maurice Morris 20 40 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 20 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 100,1 -
WR Titus Young - 70 -
WR Nate Burleson - 80 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: This was not the best matchup for the Lions but losing to the Packers meant slipping to the #6 seed and replaying one of their worst losses. The offense has been been in high gear since that week 13 game with never fewer than 28 points but then again the defenses were softer. The Lions are back in the playoffs and Matt Stafford survived an entire season - there are plenty of reasons to celebrate in Detroit already.

QUARTERBACK: Matthew Stafford finally lasted all 16 games and what a difference that makes. He threw for 5038 yards - nearly more than the old Marino record and still one of the top six seasons in NFL history. And he scored 41 times against only 16 interceptions. In a year with so many big quarterback performances, Stafford held his own as one of the elite. Of course ending with 520 yards and five scores helped a lot.

Stafford passed for 408 yards and one score in New Orleans five weeks ago but only had one interception. The Saints have only allowed ten passing scores in New Orleans this year but look for Stafford to notch two in this rematch.

RUNNING BACKS: Kevin Smith rushed for 34 yards and one score on only six carries in New Orleans and added 46 yards on six receptions. Maurice Morris ran for 28 yards on 12 rushes and added a score on his five receptions for 47 yards. The only scores in the previous matchup came from the running backs but it is hard to reply on Smith for another ground score since the Saints are playing even better lately and have only allowed four rushing scores to a visiting runner this year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The last meeting produced 400 passing yards and much of that ended up here though none of them had a truly big game. Nate Burleson (5-93) was tops and Calvin Johnson (5-69) made the most of his eight targets. Titus Young (2-60) only had two passes thrown his way but hauled in a long reception. Young has been sitting out of practice with an "undisclosed" injury but no reports have him missing the game. Johnson is resting his Achilles injury but will play after logging 11 catches for 244 yards and a score in Green Bay last week. Johnson is on a three game streak of 100+ yards and a score.

The Saints have never allowed more than one visiting wideout per game to score but there have been four 100+ yard games allowed. Look for an aerial war that benefits these players.

TIGHT ENDS: The Saints are one of the better defenses against tight ends and more so when at home. Brandon Pettigrew already had one of his worst games of the year there when he only managed two catches for 13 yards. No reason to expect an improvement this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 19 2 3 12 2
Preventing Fantasy Points NO 23 22 25 6 21 2


New Orleans Saints
Homefield: Superdome
Sportexe Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @GB 34-42 10 @ATL 26-23
2 CHI 30-13 11 Bye -
3 HOU 40-33 12 NYG 49-24
4 @JAC 23-10 13 DET 31-17
5 @CAR 30-27 14 @TEN 22-17
6 @TB 20-26 15 @MIN 42-20
7 IND 62-7 16 ATL 45-16
8 @STL 21-31 17 CAR 45-17
9 TB 27-16 - - -
Saints Report | Statistics | Roster
NEW ORLEANS vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Brees - - 350,3
RB Chris Ivory 30 - -
RB Pierre Thomas 40,1 20 -
RB Darren Sproles 30 40,1 -
TE Jimmy Graham - 90,1 -
WR Marques Colston - 100,1 -
WR Devery Henderson - 30 -
WR Robert Meachem - 50 -
PK John Kasay 2 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Saints have turned up the points in recent weeks and look like a team peaking at the right time - also the only team that is likely to challenge the Packers. There are still injury problems on the team but this is a diverse attack for this reason. As long as Brees is there, he can spread the ball around to many outlets. Nice too is that the Saints are on an eight game winning streak and in most cases have won really big.

QUARTERBACK: We were all treated to seeing Drew Brees make NFL history by throwing for 5476 yards and scored 46 touchdowns with only 14 interceptions. Brees has been red hot all year and now is ratcheting his performances to all new heights. He passed for 23 touchdowns over just the last six games.

Brees set the record for 300+ yard games (13). He threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns on the Lions in the previous meeting.

RUNNING BACKS: Mark Ingram has been placed on injured reserve with turf toe and his final game played was the Lions matchup where he scored once and gained 54 yards on 16 carries. He will be replaced by Chris Ivory. Darren Sproles ran four times for 28 yards on the Lions and added five receptions for 46 yards and one score in that meeting. Pierre Thomas only had four touches in that game but should matter more this week with Ingram out.

I like one rushing score but it will end up with either Thomas or Ivory. More likely Thomas this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Lance Moore remains likely out with his hamstring strain and even Robert Meachem is nursing a bruised knee. Meacham said he intends to play though he will be in pain.

In the previous meeting with the Lions, Meachem accounted for 119 yards and a score on three catches and Marques Colston ended with 54 yards on six receptions. Moore scored once but only had two short catches. Devery Henderson will help replace Moore but even last week he only had two catches for 48 yards with Moore out.

Colston is the only one of this group that is a reasonable play every week. The others are too inconsistent.

TIGHT ENDS: Jimmy Graham ends his breakout season with 99 catches for 1310 yards and 11 touchdowns. He turned in eight catches for 89 yards in the previous tilt with the Lions and is on a three game streak with a touchdown in each. He is always a strong play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NO 2 1 4 2 2 26
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 26 12 27 11 28 22

WILCARDS CIN at HOU PIT at DEN ATL at NYG DET at NO

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