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Numbers to Know: Saints vs. Lions

New Orleans desperately needs a win over a superior and healthier team.

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Here are three statistics you need to know heading into the New Orleans Saints’ battle against the Detroit Lions this Sunday.

10 Touchdowns

What does this mean: Passing touchdowns thrown by Derek Carr this season

Why should I care:

Derek Carr has been dealt a tough hand this season with lackluster play calling, offensive line inconsistencies, and a few tough injuries. Regardless, he needs to be better, specifically in the red zone. He is currently throwing just .91 touchdowns per game which is 25th in the NFL. The red zone has always been Carr’s nemesis, but he was simply atrocious in the red zone against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s a fair request to need better than a 42.5% red zone touchdown efficiency if someone is paying you $37 million per year. With a plethora of tough injuries, the Saints will likely have few opportunities in the red zone this Sunday. Derek Carr and the offense have to capitalize and score touchdowns against the Lions.

41

What does this mean: Alvin Kamara’s jersey number

Why should I care:

This is not a statistic, but it’s important to emphasize the massive importance that Alvin Kamara plays on this offense until it gets moderately healthy. With Thomas, Olave, and Shaheed likely out next week, Kamara might be the biggest run and pass threat simultaneously, especially with Check Down Carr at the helm. He caught four receptions for 50 yards against Atlanta, which yielded a 12.5-yard per reception average. Kamara has the potential to make big plays out of nothing, and if the Saints want any chance of beating Detroit, Pete Carmichael has to properly utilize him. Look for a big performance from 41 this weekend.

2.1 Sacks

What does this mean: The sacks per game made by the Detroit defense

Why should I care:

Both of these teams are terrible at getting to the quarterback. The Lions are making 2.1 sacks per game (ranked 26th), and only 0.7 over the past three games (ranked 31st). As the New Orleans offensive line steadily improves, Derek Carr should have a decent amount of time in the pocket. This will be much needed, especially without his starting three receivers. The question remains: can Carr make use of inexperienced wide receivers, and can he produce in the red zone? Although the New Orleans offense is bruised and broken, it has the opportunity to exploit a struggling Detroit defense.