National Football League
Preview
New Orleans at Detroit
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 19, 2014
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has carved up Detroit in the past but could find it tougher to roll up the points and yards when the Saints visit the Lions on Sunday. Brees is 4-0 as a starter against Detroit and averaged 379.3 passing yards while throwing 14 touchdowns against just one interception. What’s different this time is the Lions lead the NFL in pass defense (197.2) and in total defense (270.7).

Detroit running back Reggie Bush is returning from an ankle injury and is looking forward to playing against his former squad of five seasons even though Saints coach Sean Payton is doing all he can do to deny he was happy to see Bush depart. “I think really at the end it made sense,” Payton said of Bush’s departure after the 2010 season. “He was wanting a little bit more of a featured role at running back.” The Lions are expected to be without Calvin Johnson (ankle) for the second straight game and the stud wideout indicated he is still dealing with lingering pain.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions –2.5. O/U: 48.5.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (2-3): Brees has passed for 1,574 yards and nine touchdowns but New Orleans’ offense hasn’t really clicked despite ranking second in the NFL in total offense (442.8). “I feel like we’ve maintained a lot of long drives that ended up in touchdowns,” Brees told reporters. “I’d say we’ve turned the ball over too much (six interceptions, four lost fumbles), which is my responsibility more so than anybody.” The defense has been a problem by allowing more than 30 points three times – the unit ranks 28th in scoring defense (28.2) and 23rd in total defense (379.6) – with inside linebacker Curtis Lofton boasting a team-best 40 tackles.

ABOUT THE LIONS (4-2): Detroit has greatly increased its defensive pressure and leads the NFL with 20 sacks after improving defensive end Ezekiel Ansah had 2.5 of the team’s eight sacks in last week’s victory over the Minnesota Vikings. “I’m just playing as hard as an I can and going 100 miles per hour and I’m not scared to make mistakes,” Ansah told reporters. “Last year, I was a little bit hesitant trying to be all cautious because you don’t want to make mistakes and have the coaches yell at you.” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has passed for 1,592 yards and seven touchdowns and is clicking well with wideout Golden Tate (38 catches, 495 yards).

EXTRA POINTS

1. New Orleans has lost six straight road games and eight of its last nine.

2. Detroit rookie TE Eric Ebron (hamstring) could miss his second straight game.

3. Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) is expected to miss the contest.

PREDICTION: Lions 20, Saints 14
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
New Orleans 2-3 W1 26.4 28.2 2-0 0-3 0-1 2-2 1-1 1-1 2-2
Detroit 4-2 W1 19.3 13.7 2-1 2-1 0-1 4-1 0-0 2-0 3-1
Last Meeting
New Orleans Detroit
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
1/7/12 DET 28 NO 45 626 167 459 412 32 380
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Orleans D. Brees 76.7 466 3 0
Detroit M. Stafford 65.1 380 3 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Orleans P. Thomas 8 66 8.2 1
Detroit K. Smith 6 21 3.5 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Orleans M. Colston 7 120 17.1 0
Detroit C. Johnson 12 211 17.6 2
Touchdowns Player TD
New Orleans D. Sproles 2
Detroit C. Johnson 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Orleans D. Brees 68.8 1574 9 6
Detroit M. Stafford 62.3 1592 7 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Orleans K. Robinson 61 304 5.0 2
Detroit J. Bell 66 226 3.4 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Orleans J. Graham 34 376 11.1 3
Detroit G. Tate 38 495 13.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
New Orleans J. Graham 3
Detroit J. Bell 2