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2009 Schedule Preview: Week 1 vs. the Detroit Lions

We begin now with our early look at each of the Saints 2009 opponents. These posts will offer just a brief overview of each opponents off-season moves, detailing the more important ones, and quickly discuss how each team might match up against the Saints this year. We begin at the very beginning, a very good place to start: The Detroit Lions.

Of course we all know the story of the winless Detroit Lions of last year, right? Presumptuous Saints fans will consider this a sure win and an easy start to a Superbowl season. Well guess's not 2008; the Lions are banking on that. That means anything can happen. Heck, if the Lions were in the NFC South, a first place finish in the division would be a lock. Fortunately they're not, but the Lions have nowhere to go but up. A new head coach, Jim Schwartz in his first season at the position, mixed with a heavily revamped team with a lot to prove, could be a dangerous combination. Let's take a look at how far the Lions have come and what we might expect right out of the box.

Lions Offense

It's not really possible to even begin to speculate on what the Lions offense will look like next season. With rookie quarterback Matt Stafford expected to be the starter from week one, there is sure to be a learning curve and a "getting to know you" period before anything begins to really click. This should be good news for the Saints, who get to play the Lions early and before they go on any sort of Cinderalla story-like tear.

Stafford will have some decent targets to throw to in Detroit. Though the Lions enter 2009 without Shaun McDonald or Mike Furrey, the team still has an incredible receiving threat in Calvin Johnson, they've added Dennis Northcutt, Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry through free agency and drafted tight end Brandon Pettigrew late in the first round of the draft this year.

In the running department the Lions leading rusher, Kevin Smith, returns as the inevitable starter while newly acquired Maurice Morris should take over backup duties from Rudi Johnson, who is no longer with the team. They also added fullback Terrelle Smith.

The Saints defense may very well be going through their own transition period at the time with new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams calling the shots but they should still have the advantage in this matchup.

Lions Defense

The Lions defense finished dead last in so many categories last season; there is no place for them to go but up. With improvement needed everywhere, the team has attempted to add depth at nearly every position. Detroit upgraded their line with Grady Jackson to offset the loss of Shaun Cody, added veteran linebacker Larry Foote for help in the middle and signed Phillip Buchanon and Eric King to help stop the pass. They also drafted safety Louis Delmas with their third pick in the draft.

That being said, if the Saints offense can peform at nearly the same level as last year then expect the black and gold to win this matchup hands down.

Lions 2009 Season

0-16 record

Last Meeting

December 21, 2008

Week 16 1 2 3 4 OT Final
Saints 14 14 14 0 0 42
Lions 0 7 0 0 0 7

Why the Saints can win

Because the Lions were really bad last year. Really bad.

Why the Saints can lose

Because the Lions have to win eventually.


Saints 35 - Lions 10

Free Agent Pickups

RB Maurice Morris

WR Dennis Northcutt

WR Ronald Curry

WR Bryant Johnson

TE Will Heller

OT Daniel Loper

OT Jon Jansen

DE Jason Hunter

DT Grady Jackson

OLB Julian Peterson

ILB Larry Foote

ILB Cody Spencer

CB Phillip Buchanon

CB Eric King

CB/S Anthony Henry

S Marquand Manuel

2009 Draft Picks

QB Matt Stafford

TE Brandon Pettigrew

FS Louis Delmas

LB DeAndre Levy

WR Derrick Williams

DT Sammie Lee Hill

RB Aaron Brown

OT Lydon Murtha

OLB Zack Follett

TE Dan Gronkowski

Key losses

QB Jon Kitna

QB Dan Orlovsky

QB Drew Henson

RB Rudi Johnson

FB Moran Norris

FB Jon Bradley

WR Shaun McDonald

WR Mike Furrey

TE Dan Campbell

TE Michael Gaines

TE John Owens

OT George Foster

OT Junius Coston

OT Jon Dunn

G Edwin Mulitalo

C Andy McCollum

DE Corey Smith

DT Cory Redding

DT Shaun Cody

DT Langston Moore

OLB Ryan Nece

OLB Alex Lewis

ILB Paris Lenon

CB Leigh Bodden

CB Travis Fisher

CB Stanley Wilson

S Dwight Smith


Pride Of Detroit

Lions vs Saints coverage

CSC: Saints @ Lions Postgame

CSC: Saints @ Lions: Who Dat Say!?

CSC: Saints @ Lions: Making the Grade

Detroit Lions 2009 Transactions

Detroit Lions 2009 Draft

Detroit Lions 2009 Free Agent Tracker

Detroit Lions 2009 Roster