Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints 2012 NFC Wild Card Picks
Would it be prudent to say that no team in the entire league enjoys home-field, or should I say, “dome-field advantage” more than the (13-3, Home: 8-0) New Orleans Saints? Would you say that’s a fair assessment?
After watching the ease with which this team dismantled its opposition at home this season, versus the way they were humiliated in last year’s playoffs by the far less talented like the Seahawks, I would go out on a limb and say that no NFL team feeds off its home crowd more than they do in the bayou!
“If you don’t play your best, you’re out,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “There is no second chance. That was reiterated to us last year.”
Saints fans certainly have all the right to smile, as their team begins the 2012 NFL Playoffs looking to make it 9 wins and 0 loses, as the sixth seeded (10-6, Road: 5-3) Detroit Lions invade the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday night.
Opening kickoff for this 2012 NFC Wild Card game is scheduled for 8 PM ET on NBC. According to 2012 NFC Wild Card odds makers, the New Orleans Saints have been listed as favorites to dispose of the Detroit Lions, rather easily. The most recent lines have Brees & Co. projected to win this game by a minimum of 10 points. In addition, the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 59 points.
For the Saints, I mean, what else can be said about Drew Brees and the kind of season he’s had? Although I’m pretty sure that winning his second Super Bowl in three years would mean a lot more to him than any passing record. Nevertheless, breaking Dan Marino’s 27-year-old mark for most passing yards in a season (5,084) is nothing to sneeze at.
The Saints will bring the highest ranked offense in the NFC to take on a Lions young defense that was missing Ndamukong Suh when these teams met back on December 4, 2012 in the Big Easy. With the big man serving a two-game suspension, Brees took full advantage (26/36, 342 YDS, 3 TD) to help his team come away with a 31-17 win, despite a great effort by Matthew Stafford (31/44, 408 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT).
“I’m in a position now that I can really help them. I look forward to doing that,” Suh said this week. “It’s a great opportunity to go against them. They obviously have a lot of Pro Bowlers on their offensive line, so it’s always a great challenge.”
By the time halftime came around, the game was well in hand in favor of the home team. The scariest part of it all is that according to Brees, this team has actually improved since the last time these clubs met.
“A lot has happened over the last four weeks,” Brees said. “I feel we’re playing better football than we were then and they’re playing better football.”
Is that even possible? Can the Saints really beat down the Lions by double-digits for a second time this season?
Here’s my take: I do like the Saints to prevail in this one, there’s no question. However, I find it hard to buy that they will be able to duplicate what they did just a few weeks ago with Suh back in the lineup. Now, I understand Suh didn’t quite have the same impact as he did a year ago, but he does make a difference. I actually expect him to come out and make his presence felt.
Now, whether that translates into sacks remains to be seen. But at least, I believe he can have an impact in this game simply by applying pressure on Brees and forcing him to get rid of it before he has to. My play is: I’ll take the Lions with a +10½ point cushion! Who do you have winning this game?