Sunday, December 4, 2016

Game 12 2016 - Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints


The 8-4 Detroit Lions beat the 5-7 Saints 28 to 13 in New Orleans. The Lions never fell behind in this game, for the first time this season. They also won by more then one score, for the first time this year. On top of that, the Vikings lost their game week 12 to put the Lions first in the division with a little extra room to spare, though the Packers are now the team to keep an eye on over the rest of the month. They have Seattle at home next week then play each of their divisional rivals over the last 3 weeks (Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit). It will truly be a race to the finish as far as the divisional winner is concerned, luckily the Lions have already been spotted a lead.

Matthew Stafford was 30 of 42 (71.43%) for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. Meanwhile Drew Brees was 31 of 44 (70.45%) for 326 yards and 3 interceptions. The Lions were the better defense on the field today, and Stafford was the better quarterback. I believe I saw a graphic during the game that Matthew Stafford is first in the NFL in red zone efficiency or perhaps it was scoring. Either way the Lions will not be having a losing season this year, as they are already at 8 wins with 4 more games to go. Those 4 games include home against the Bears, away at the Giants and at the Cowboys, then on New Year's Day it's the Lions hosting the Packers for what could be the big finish.

Passes were completed to 7 different players, including Eric Ebron (4 for 38 yards) and two running backs. There were 4 running back with carries in the game if you include Staffords 3 runs for 22 yards, and those 4 managed 85 yards total while the Lions defense only allowed 50 yards rushing.

November's NFC Special Teams Player of the Month (Matt Prater) was 5 for 5 kicking field goals, with a long of 52. That's a good start for December as well.

The whole team (the part that was healthy anyway) showed up to prove they are contenders in this year's playoff race, not just "lucky". With there being no turnovers for the Lions at all, this away game was never in serious jeopardy of being lost. It may be the first time this year where Lions fans managed to keep their blood pressure down and their nails intact.

Next week the 3-9 Bears come to Detroit, they will try to play spoiler as they are no longer in contention for the division lead with only 4 weeks to go. Meanwhile the Packers won and are at 6-6 but hold the tie breaker over the Lions at present so they are only 1.5 games behind. The Packers are ahead of the Vikings now, who also are at 6-6 which makes them 2.5 games behind the Lions due to the Lions owning the tie breaker over them. With all the divisional games yet to be played the number of playoff scenarios are many, but the Lions are in the drivers seat by virtue of their current lead in the division. It's good to be first.

After post edit: Here's the graphic I spoke of And another new item. First away win after Thanksgiving game since 1974.

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