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NFC South Week 13: Saints still in lead; Falcons try to keep pace

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As Week 13 closes in for the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons are in a race to the finish for the playoffs.  Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers face a turning point battle.

New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions:  The Saints (8-3) will host the Lions (7-4) tonight in what continues to be a must win for playoff spots for both teams.  The Saints can’t afford to slip up now as the season closes and the Falcons are dead on their heels.

The last time the Saints had obliterated a team in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, they laid a stinker the next week in what should have been an easy win.  They are hot right now but can’t afford to let up on the pedal for a second.  Good news coming from the team is the possibility of LB Jonathan Vilma coming back, even though LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been doing a great job in his absence.

The Lions will be without DL Ndamukong Suh who is suspended for two games.  I don’t know how much of an impact that will be since the Lions defensive line is still very good.  I know that the Saints offensive line is happy, but should still bring their A game.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson will be a match up nightmare for the Saints secondary.  While the defense has improved some, it’s still a mystery why the Saints secondary is playing close to ten yards off the line of scrimmage on receiver’s.  Although they have been working on interception drills, they are still dropping “gimme” picks.

Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has a well known passion for blitzing which is losing some of it’s luster.  It wasn’t very effective last week and let’s hope he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve to slow the Lions offense down.

My pick for the winner:  New Orleans Saints