Here it is!!! The playoffs!! In week one all 32 teams say that the playoffs are a goal and after week 17 only 12 see that dream realized. The Saints are back in the playoffs for the fourth time in the last 6 years and have another legitimate shot at the title. Every Saints fan has been looking to get back to Green Bay after the week 1 loss. Every analyst agrees that the Saints are the only team that can play with the Packers. All we have to do is play lights out for two weeks and we end up in Green Bay playing for another chance to see The Super Bowl. Let's take this thing one game at a time and look at the Lions!
It seems like an eon ago that we hosted the Lions and trounced them 31-17. Are the Lions a better team than they were in early December? Sure they are! Are the Saints a better team than they were in early December? Damned straight! Who's "better team" will be the best team in the Mercedes Benz Superdome come Saturday night? I have to think that Drew Brees and Sean Payton, after last year's Seattle encounter, will be prepared for anything that Jim Schwartz and Matt Stafford can throw at them. After all, the Packers B-Team managed to get the job done....The Saints A-Team has been firing on all cylinders and Greg Williams will be dialing up defensive schemes that confuse even the most veteran quarterbacks. Take all that and add on Superdome Playoff crowd noise and the Saints should be able to march all over the Lions.
The Lions defense gave up 550 yards against the Packers B-Team. The Saints put up 617 against the Panthers in week 17...206 of those came on the ground. That's where the Lions will find the most trouble in defending the Saints. The Saints run game has been putting up 100+ yards on a regular basis and they've been doing it with fresh legs every down. How will the Lions account for Sprolles? How will the account for Jimmy Graham? What defensive package will they line up that will confuse Drew Brees? How does anyone defend against Chris Ivory lowering his helmet and pounding the rock for nearly 7 yards per carry? It's overwhelming! In my very humble opinion, this offense is better than the Super Bowl Championship offense of 2010.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints have been improving game by game and show signs of the ball-hawking defense of 2010. The Saints are starting to see take-aways every game and even some defensive points are starting to show up on the scoreboard. Tracy Porter, Patrick Robinson and Cam Jordon are starting to play at peak levels and Roman Harper is turning into a real threat both as a pass rusher and hard-hitting safety. They're even calling him dirty after some of the hits he's been putting on teams lately. We'd all like to see Jonathan Vilma come back to the squad in full force for the playoffs and Shanle and Dunbar have been doing a great job filling holes and moving side to side! Jabari Greer is freakin' on fire right now and playing out of his head! I think that the Lions game will be a coming out party for the Saints defense! I'm predicting 20 or less from the Lions and the Saints can beat anyone who only scores 20 points. Our last five opponents fell victim to that and out of all the losses the Saints handed out this year, only the Panthers and the Texans managed to score more that 20 points...and we beat them anyway!