Detroit suffered a tough loss against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, 27-24. The Lions were down almost the entire second half, and as good as QB Matt Stafford has been in the fourth quarter, he didn’t have enough magic to bring them back in this one. The Lions were out gained 362 to 242 in total offense, allowing Panthers QB Cam Newton to throw for 355 yards and three TDs. Detroit struggled to move the ball on offense until late in the game, and if this continues into this week, they could find themselves in a very similar position against the New Orleans Saints.
The New Orleans Saints were on their bye in Week 5. This is an important game for the Saints, as they will look to make up ground on both the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South.
Is it possible to say Saints QB Drew Brees is flying under the radar this year? Brees has gotten off to one of the best starts of his career, completing 69% of his passes with eight TDs and no INTs. He is doing an outstanding job of taking care of the ball and finding his playmakers, like WR Michael Thomas and “swiss army knife” RB Alvin Kamara, and will get a boost to his receiving core with the return of WR Willie Snead off of suspension. He carries a 108.3 passer rating into this matchup, and after Cam Newton lit up this secondary last week, Brees could be in line for a similar outing.
The Lions injury report has no shortage of players heading into this week. There are some key injuries on the offensive line, with OTs Greg Robinson, Rick Wagner and G TJ Lang all banged up while QB Matt Stafford isn’t 100% healthy himself, this could be an issue to monitor moving forward. The Lions defense is also dealing with a few injuries, specifically with S Glover Quinn, LB Tahir Whitehead and DE Ezekiel Ansah. Even if these players suit up, it will still be unclear on how effective they can be in this matchup.
No Peterson, no problem
The biggest news out of the Saints camp this week was the trade that sent RB Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional 2018 sixth round draft pick. This move had been brewing ever since Peterson’s so-called “spat” with HC Sean Payton on the sideline Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. It was hard for Peterson to find his niche in this offense, and it was clear that the Saints preferred rolling with RBs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara over AP. This was a good move for both parties, as the Saints seem comfortable utilizing their two headed ground attack with Ingram and Kamara throughout the rest of the season.
CB Darius Slay, DET vs WR Michael Thomas, NO
If you’re looking for a premier CB/WR matchup this week, look no further than the battle between Detroit CB Darius Slay and New Orleans WR Michael Thomas. They are two of the best at their respective positions, and this matchup could play a big role in the outcome of this game. WR Michael Thomas is off to a good start in his second season, as he ranks top 20 in the NFL in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs. Meanwhile, Detroit ranks in the top ten in opponent passer rating, where QBs are only averaging an 84.8 passer rating in the five games they have played. CB Darius Slay is the main cog for this secondary and we can expect him to see a lot of Michael Thomas on Sunday.
Fantasy Tip- RB Ameer Abdullah, DET
One of my favorite RB plays this week is Detroit’s RB Ameer Abdullah. The New Orleans Saints are the 6th worst team against RBs, giving up 373 yards rushing and 303 yards receiving to opponent RBs through their first four games. I believe Detroit will try and establish the run in this one, keeping Drew Brees and that explosive offense on the sideline. Abdullah is by far the most utilized RB for the Lions, registering 66 more carries than the next closest RB on the roster. He presents big-play ability, and in a potentially high scoring shootout, Abdullah could be in store for a big play or two.
Betting Tip- DET (+5)
Detroit getting five points against the 2-2 New Orleans Saints? Ill take it. The Lions are almost always involved in a close game, and even though this game is in New Orleans, it has potential to go back and forth. Im not buying into the Saints defense just yet, and with Matt Stafford at QB, its a good bet that the Lions will rally in the 4th quarter if they are down. I think this happens, again, as the Lions “backdoor” this line to cover the spread.
Prediction: New Orleans Saints 28 – Detroit Lions 24
Drew Brees has been on fire to start the season, and with the return of WR Willie Snead, expect Brees’ hot play to continue. New Orleans finally shipped Adrian Peterson out of town, which will allow for more touches from rookie sensation RB Alvin Kamara and RB Mark Ingram. The Saints are always tough to beat in the Superdome, especially coming off of a bye, and with Detroit coming off a tough loss and dealing with injuries, I favor New Orleans in this one. Matt Stafford and Ameer Abdullah will help Detroit keep the game within reach, but ultimately New Orleans will persevere, 28-24.
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