Sunday Night is Football Night. Knights in White Satin. Hollywoo! Knights. Those Su-ummer Ni-hiiiiights. The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. Night Moves. (what else you got for me with "night" songs or movies?)
Another week, another Saints home game in Prime Time. This time the NBC Flex Game pits the Saints against the Ndamukong Suh-less Detroit Lions in the LeBlanc Hyundai Superdome.
Make the jump to read my Hot Reads for the Saints in Week 13...
** Let's use this comment area as our pre-pre-pre-game open thread (until the afternoon games open thread pops up) to discuss our fears and anxieties, hopes and dreams, game day meal and gear plans, and whatever else is on your mind about the game. **
As usual, the most important job falls to the Guardians of Drew Brees (GDB) and if they know what's good for them, they'll Protect Drew Brees for all they're worth.
I guarantee that they know how crucial it is, so we just need to see them actually do it again as they've done in the last three games - 0 sacks.
The defense of the Lions has collected 29 sacks on the season, with 17.5 of them coming from a trio of their defensive ends: Cliff Avril (7), Kyle Vanden Bosch (6), and Lawrence Jackson (4.5). It'd be good to keep those guys away from Brees.
What I'd Like To See: Keep Brees clean (minimal contact and no sacks) and give him the time and the space to find his guys and move the ball right down the field to many TDs.
Checkdown # 1
I'm loving the way the running game looked last week, but I don't think they actually need that much to win every week (200+ yards), just a bonafide Commitment to Running the Ball effectively and maintaining rushing attempts throughout the drives and the game itself.
What I'd Like To See: Use the run consistently throughout the game to good effect - gain those tough short yards on second and third down when you need them, pitch it to Darren Sproles on the edge on first down now and again, run the draw to beat the rushing ends of Detroit, be able to get some good yards on first down on the ground at times, and just leave the Lions really guessing as to whether you'll be throwing or passing. If that adds up to 30+ carries and 200 or more yards, SWEET!, but I don't think that is necessarily required.
Checkdown # 2
The Detroit rushing game has yet to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with, so a good defensive tactic would be to Ground the Aerial Aces of Detroit and force their Other Guys to beat them.
Just who are these Aerial Aces? I'm going to say it's WR Calvin "Megatron" Johnson (63 catches for 1023 yards with 12 TDs) and TE Brandon Pettigrew (54 for 462 and 3 TDs).
Just who are these Other Guys? Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Tony Scheffler, Jahvid Best (oops, he's on the IR),Kevin Smith, Maurice Morris, and maybe Keiland Williams.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints defense hold Johnson and Pettigrew to around 100 yards and a TD between them.
Taking a cue from the words of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Take It Away, Take It Away, Take It Away Now.
The young QB of the Lions, Matthew Stafford, has shown in his first couple of seasons that he's pretty good when he's healthy and playing. This week, it's questionable as to his full health (recovering from a fractured index finger), but he is playing, so the Saints need to neutralize him, and I'm calling for it to happen via the takeaway.
What I'd Like To See: Get multiple INTs or sack/fumbles off Stafford early and turn them into points that put the Saints out in front quickly. Then the inexperienced Stafford will try to make something happen and it will snowball into more takeways or three and outs for the Saints defense as they increase the lead.
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OK, that's what I've got this week. What do you have this week? (Other than more "night" songs or movies from my intro). Let's hear from you...we've got a lot of time before kickoff tonight.