By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN
Coming off of a loss at home to the Carolina Panthers, the Lions get to travel to New Orleans to take on the New Orleans Saints. I decided to chat with an old friend, Greg Barber. Greg is a huge Saints fan. We’ve had him on our podcasts and webcasts before, and it’s always fun getting to talk to Greg! Then at the end, he switched it up and asked me some questions!
Me: First off, do you think that the Saints still have their HUGE home field advantage? It used to be quite hard to win there.
Greg: No they don’t have much of an advantage at all. They struggle at times to win at home. Look at Patriots game and several other games from the last few seasons
Me: Well, that makes me feel good! They have struggled. Especially going into this game. The Lions have won their last 3 there. Lost that playoff game in 2011, but lets not talk about that now. What do you think the Saints are going to have to do to beat the Lions?
Greg: I think Defense is the biggest key. If they can keep quarterback Matthew Stafford in check and get a couple of turnovers that can make a huge difference in this game. Plus do not allow Stafford to have the ball last in a close game. On offense they need to take advantage of every opportunity possible to score because they may not be many. I think this will be a lower scoring game than people anticipate.
Me: I don’t think it’s gonna be a shoot out that’s for sure! The Saints haven’t really taken the ball away a lot this season, They only have 4 INTs so far this season, but it’s early. You’re right, you can’t allow Stafford to have the ball late, never! It looks though like the Saints are starting to get it together. What matchups are you looking forward to seeing?
Greg: The turnovers all came in the last two games. And the matchups I want to see is the Saints O-Line against the Lions pass rush. If quarterback Drew Brees can stay upright with wide receiver Willie Snead coming back, that opens up other receivers including running back Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. I think he will have a big game and maybe the key to a Saints win.
Me: That’s speaking to what I’m thinking. The Saints are starting to fire up. The Lions are working with a banged up Matthew Stafford, an O line that’s not as strong as we’d like. It could be a little shaky for the offense. The pass rush has been improving. I want to see linebacker Jarrad Davis just go nuts out there.
Greg: Hopefully he will go nuts the next game. This game we have to make him disappear!
Greg: Yes I’m hoping!
Me: Snead is back, it could be a long afternoon. The Saints could be a little more fired up than usual. But Snead and cornerback Darius Slay match up will be a good one to watch for me.
Greg: I agree, I like Slay a lot. I saw him a lot in college.
Me: He’s a good guy! Hard working! Now, the Lions haven’t had a player rush for 100 yards in about a million years! Will that happen against the Saints???
Greg: No it will not. I think the Saints can slow the run down enough to keep them having big plays.
Me: I have a feeling it wasn’t really gonna happen anyway. I think there’s a curse on this team! Last question Greg! What’s the final score??
Greg: Hmmmm…27-23 Saints. I don’t see it going into the 30-40 range.
Me: It’ll be close, but I’m thinking 28-24 Saints.
Greg: I would like to ask a couple questions of you. How good have the Lions been on the road this year?
Me: Oh sure!! They so far on the road are 2-0. Which is pretty sweet, because usually they’re not so good on the road.
Greg: How do you see the matchup between the Saints secondary and the Lions WR corps? And how will the Lions react coming off a loss like that against the Panthers last week?
Me: Well, the secondary matchup will be fun to watch. Big key will be slowing down Golden Tate. Last week he didn’t really do much against Carolina, but the past 3 times that these teams have met, Tate has 24 catches for 344 yards with 4 TDs. And that is the most that the Saints have given up to a receiver since 2014. Coming off the loss against the Panthers, the team is going to try to bounce back, but it’s going to be hard. The injury bug is biting hard. Stafford isn’t 100%, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata just went on the injured reserve with a bicep injury.
Greg: Yes. Do Stafford’s fumbles concern you for the season going forward?
Me: Of course. I will say that I think he’s made better decisions as he’s gotten “older” and thrown the ball away more, but he still had the tendency to have fumbles. But also, the O-Line has had issues with protection of late. So, it’s hard to protect the ball when you’re trying to stay upright.
Greg: Agreed. The O-Line could be a problem. I’m hoping the D-Line can say hello to Matthew 4-5 times Sunday.
Me: It could be huge. The Saints defense, secondary especially is starting to heat up. And I think that if they get enough pressure on the O-Line, it could be a long day for Matthew.
Greg: I’m hoping.
Me: Also, in looking at a couple of things, the Lions offense and the Saints defense are both ranked around 28th. So, honestly, it could be pretty even, but with Matthew being slightly injured, having a weak O-Line, I honestly would give the advantage to the defense.
Talk Lions with Sonja on Twitter // @Mom23RN