The NFL’s Wild-Card Weekend started off with a bang in the NFC with the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints battling in a close game that eventually was decided in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees and the Saints proved to be a bit too much to handle for the Lions’ defense in a 45-28 win.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson both had great games (211 yards and two touchdowns accumulated between the two), but the difference in this one was multiple missed opportunities on the defensive end.
The league’s bad boy, Ndamukong Suh, was a no-show in this one as the Saints often double-teamed the superstar defensive lineman. An effective game-plan which allowed Brees to have the time to complete 33 of his 43 passes and post 466 yards and three touchdowns.
While Brees’ numbers look great, the guy wasn’t invincible and actually threw up some ducks on the night. The only problem was that the Lions failed to capitalize on any of his miscues and he’s a guy who can’t be allotted second chances.
At halftime, the Lions entered the locker room with a 14-10 lead, and at the time looked like the better team. But, that didn’t last long when the Saints came out and reverted back to playing their kind of football which involves heaving up the ball and scoring on long pass plays. In the second half, the Saints outscored Detroit 35-14.
Where do the Lions go from here?
Other than going home earlier than expected, they should be happy about how the 2011-12 season played out. They have loads of young talent and showed during the season that they can at the very least compete with the Packers in the NFC North. Stafford and Johnson are the best QB-WR connection in the NFL and should flourish for years to come.
Even though the Lions have some issues on the defensive end, I wouldn’t necessarily say they have desperate positional needs. For that reason, I think they should go after a running back in the first couple of rounds in the NFL Draft. Yes, they have Jahvid Best, but it was apparent this became a less dangerous team when they lost him to injury. With Best’s injury-prone background, it wouldn’t hurt to have another running back in the mix.
And until Mikel Leshoure proves he can be healthy and a successful contributor to this team, it wouldn’t hurt to add another halfback for healthy competition.
In The Sports Banks’ latest Mock Draft, we have Miami’s RB Lamar Miller going to the Lions.
With a little balance, this Lions team could give the Packers a run for their money next season.
What did you think of the Lions’ first playoff game in a long time? Do you see a bright future for this team like I do? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Follow paulmbanks