Lions vs Saints nfl playoffs 1-7-12- nfl schedule

January 7, 2012

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Detroit at New Orleans
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2012
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

THE STORY: Drew Brees obliterated league records on an almost-weekly basis, but there’s a simpler way to show just how good the New Orleans Saints quarterback has been this season: He’s made the staggering numbers put up by Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford an afterthought. Brees and the white-hot Saints will go for their ninth consecutive victory when they host the Lions in a wild card matchup Saturday night. It will mark the first postseason game in NFL history featuring opposing quarterbacks who have each thrown for more than 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns during the regular season. New Orleans was a perfect 8-0 at home, including a 31-17 victory over the Lions on Dec. 4. Of course, the Saints were also overwhelming favorites a year ago before getting bounced by a seven-win Seattle team in the playoffs.

TV: NBC, 8 p.m. ET. LINE: Saints -10.5, O/U 59

ABOUT THE LIONS (10-6): Detroit is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and only three years removed from the only 0-16 season in league history. Stafford become the fourth different QB to eclipse 5,000 yards and has a touchdown machine in superstar WR Calvin Johnson, who had 96 receptions for a league-best 1,686 yards and 16 scoring passes this season. Stafford threw for 1,284 yards and 12 TDs in his last three games. Johnson had 24 catches for 560 yards and five TDs in that span. Stud DT Ndamukong Suh, who missed the first matchup due to suspension, will need to apply inside pressure to Brees. Detroit committed 11 penalties for 107 yards in the first meeting.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (13-3): Brees wound up with 5,476 yards, shattering Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 set in 1984. The Saints were the No. 2 scoring team in the league behind Green Bay and put up at least 40 points in five of their eight home games. Although rookie RB Mark Ingram went on injured reserve this week, the trio of Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles have provided great production. Sproles was the pickup of the offseason, accumulating a league-best 2,696 all-purpose yards. Jimmy Graham became the first tight end to top 95 receptions, 1,200 yards and 10 TDs in one season. WR Marques Colston had five TD passes in last four games en route to a fifth 1,000-yard season.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Brees, who set a record with a 71.6 percent completion percentage, has thrown for 1,051 yards, 11 TDs and one interception in three games against the Lions.

2. Detroit set a league record by winning three games after trailing by at least 17 points this season.

3. After New Orleans jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first meeting, Detroit rallied to pull within seven points but had a missed field goal, punt and interception on its next three possessions.


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