There were two big stories during that game, however. One, the suspension of interior defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. Two, 11 penalties for 107 yards.
Although Suh was suspended, rookie Nick Fairley proved a decent fill-in along the Lions’ defensive front by getting pressure on Brees while recording his first career sack. Fairley was consistently in the Saints backfield disrupting plays until an ankle injury forced him to the sideline.
The Lions were also without starting cornerback, Chris Houston and starting free safety Louis Delmas. Houston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but both should be healthy enough to start Saturday’s game.
Detroit penalties were a big killer for the Lions during the previous meeting. During one drive in the second half, Nate Burleson was flagged three times for offensive pass interference which negated several big gains at that point.
The return of Suh, Houston, and Delmas should put Detroit in a better position to disrupt the league’s most accurate passer, but they will still have their work cut out for them.
Detroit keys to the game
- Defensive line pressure
– Cooler heads prevail
– Calvin Johnson early and often
The return of Suh will test the Saints offensive line. Although his numbers don’t bear it out, Suh can be a force along the defensive line, and Saturday’s contest could be a good test for the Saints. If he can get in Brees’s face and disrupt his rhythm, it could make for a long day for the #1 offense in the league.