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Scouting the Saints 2015 Opponents: Week 14 vs. Lions

Let's dissect each of our opponents this upcoming season.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints face Detroit Lions in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in primetime on Monday, December 21st - Let’s do some breakdowns ahead of the game to see what the Saints are marching into.

The Saints play the Buccaneers week 12 and the Panthers week 13. Click the links to see updated rosters for these match-ups from the first game scout we published along with a refresher on their key players.

Series Matchup All-Time

(Full list here, via The Football Database)

Saints 12 - Lions 10 (1 tie)

Last 5 Games

(2014-2015)  Saints 23 - Lions 24

(2012-2013) Lions 28 - Saints 45

(2011-2012) Lions 17 - Saints 31

(2009-2010) Redskins 27 - Saints 45

(2008-2009) Saints 42 - Lions 7

*Drew Brees' Saints are 4-1 against the Lions, undefeated in the Dome.

2014-2015 Lions Totals

(Saints #1 total offense, #31 total defense according to ESPN)

Total Offense #19

Passing/YPG #12

Rushing/YPG #28

Total Defense #2

Passing/YPG #13

Rushing/YPG #1

Projected Depth Charts

Saints

Lions

Offense

QB

Drew Brees

Matt Stafford

Luke McCown

Dan Orlovsky

Garrett Grayson

RB

Mark Ingram

Joique Bell

C.J. Spiller

Theo Riddick

Khiry Robinson

Ameer Abdullah

WR

Brandin Cooks

Calvin Johnson

Marques Colston

Golden Tate

Willie Snead

Lance Moore

TE

Josh Hill

Eric Ebron

Benjamin Watson

Timothy Wright

LT

Terron Armstead

Riley Reiff

LG

Tim Lelito

Manny Ramirez

C

Max Unger

Travis Swanson

RG

Jahri Evans

Larry Warford

RT

Zach Strief

LaAdrian Waddle

Defense

LDE

Akiem Hicks

Jason Jones

LDT

John Jenkins

Tyrunn Walker

RDT

Kevin Williams

Haloti Ngata

RDE

Cam Jordan

Ezekiel Ansah

Sam

Hau'oli Kikaha

Tahir Whitehead

Mike/MLB

Stephone Anthony

Stephen Tulloch

Will

Dannell Ellerbe

DeAndre Levy

LCB

Keenan Lewis

Darius Slay

RCB

Brandon Browner

Rashean Mathis

NCB

Delvin Breaux

Josh Wilson

SS

Kenny Vaccaro

James Ihedigbo

FS

Jairus Byrd

Glover Quin

Special Teams

K

Zach Hocker

Matt Prater

P

Thomas Morstead

Sam Martin

Key Lions

Offense

Matt Stafford (1 x Pro Bowl): The first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft has not disappointed. Sure, sometimes the former Bulldog makes silly mistakes, throwing boneheaded sidearms into triple coverage, but Stafford is a gunslinger. The 27 year old is the fastest player to reach 20,000 career passing yards (71 games) and is tied with our very own Drew Brees at 4 with the most consecutive 350+ passing yards in a season. In addition to the guy below, Stafford has a reliable receiver in Golden Tate and the husk of Lance Moore this season.

Calvin Johnson (5 x Pro Bowl, 3 x FT All Pro, 1 x ST All Pro): What do you do about a guy who is 6'5", can run a 4.35' 40, has a near 43" vertical AND plays to that vertical? Pretty much nothing. Megatron is the NFL's all-time single season receiving yardage leader (1,964), the first player in NFL history to have consecutive +1,600 yard seasons, and is the fastest to 10,000 receiving yards (115 games). Calvin Johnson will be 30 this year, but he's on track to crack into the top-25 receivers in all-time yardage. So, what do you do about a generational talent? Put your best corner(s) on him and demand safety help over the top. And pray. Interestingly - In 4 games played against the Saints in his career, Megatron has never scored a TD.

Defense

DeAndre Levy (1 x ST All Pro): Levy was ranked PFF's #3 4-3 OLB in 2014 and #9 in 2013. He's a solid run defender and is one of the best coverage linebackers in the game. Levy had the second most tackles in the league last year (151) including a pick. The year prior, he had 6 interceptions and a TD. He's as well-rounded as they come and along and is a true sideline to sideline guy in the vain of Lavonte David.

Haloti Ngata (5 x Pro Bowl, 2 x FT All Pro, 3 x ST All Pro): With the loss of the best defensive tackle in the game and Nick Fairley up front, the work up front for the Lion literally falls to veteran Haloti Ngata's shoulders. Lining up next to Ziggy Ansah on the right end of the line, Tim Lelito and Terron Armstead will have their work cut out for them. Ngata is a run defense specialist and space eater, but he's surprisingly fast and shifty for a for a guy who's 6'4 340.

Glover Quin (1 x Pro Bowl, 1 x ST All Pro): The 7-year veteran Glover Quin broke out in 2014, leading the NFL with 7 interceptions (including one courtesy of Brees) and earning the #3 safety rank from PFF. These numbers may well be inflated by the ridiculous front-7 the Lions fielded last season, or they could be that he's good in coverage and a bit of a ballhawk. I think the truth lies somewhere in between, but with a supplement of Ngata up front and the retention of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets at least 5 this season. Good luck getting Drew again this year, Glover.

TL;DR

You can't just replace Ndamukong Suh, but Ngata is not a bad consolation. The Saints were a 4th-quarter meltdown away from beating the Lions in Detroit last season before Matt Stafford led one of his patented comeback drives and broke our hearts. The consolation for us, somewhat, is that he did the same thing to the Falcons in London last season, which was glorious. It's also worth mentioning that we didn't have to face Megatron last season, though Golden didn't have much of an issue with our porous secondary, racking up 154 yards and a brutal TD. Nevertheless - The New Orleans Saints have had little problem with the Detroit Saints (seriously, Joe Lombardi-Jed Collins-Joique Bell-Reggie Bush-Tyrunn Walker-Lance Moore-Isa Abdul Quddus-Stanley Jean Baptiste) and our gunslinger is better than their gunslinger. Look for a definitive victory in the Dome a la 2011.