The New Orleans Saints (1-2) are set to face the Detroit Lions (1-2) at 1 p.m. ET. Initially, Saints fullback Michael Burton tested positive for COVID on Saturday as per Ian Rapoport. The Athletic is now reporting his second test came back negative as did the tests of the players with close contact with Burton. The game will go on so let’s get into the Week 4 preview.
After a nice win against Tom Brady and the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers to open the season, the Saints have dropped their last two. They will again be without wide receiver Michael Thomas and will also be without starting tight end Jared Cook who injured his groin in the third quarter last week. The Lions lost their first two games of the season until taking down the Arizona Cardinals last week.
Thomas and Cook aren’t the only players New Orleans will be missing this week. Andrus Peat is out with an ankle injury as well. On the defensive side of the ball, Janoris Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, and Marcus Davenport are all ruled out against Detroit. The offense will look to depend heavily on the running game. Expect Alvin Kamara to have a very busy day especially in the passing game. He had 13 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns last week with Thomas out. Now with Cook sidelined as well, Kamara should see a similar workload. Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith will also see an uptick in work. Keep an eye on rookie TE Adam Trautman who will be taking Cook’s place.
Defensively, this squad has struggled already this year allowing 94 points in three games. Losing Davenport shouldn’t hurt as much with Carl Sanderson and Trey Hendrickson rotating on the line opposite Cameron Jordan. The secondary will undoubtedly miss Lattimore and Jenkins. Expect more blitzes today against the Lions to limit the time Matthew Stafford has to throw. If the defensive line, along with a creative scheme up front, can’t apply pressure and cause a few turnovers, it could be a long day for the Saints.
Just like the Saints, Detroit got beat by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Lions offense looked much more efficient last week against the Cardinals. Stafford was 22-31 with 270 yards and two TDs. It was his best game of the season after going 44-75 (58.6%) with 541 yards and a 3/2 TD/INT rate in the first two games. Of course, that also coincided with Kenny Golladay‘s return. After missing the first two games, Golladay came back to catch six of his seven targets for 57 yards and a TD. Adrian Peterson has been a solid contributor as well. The 35-year-old running back has averaged 4.9 yards per carry (43-209).
Defensively, the Lions have not gotten after the quarterback well with only three sacks on the season. However, they have faced QBs who can move in Rodgers, Mitchell Trubisky, and Kyler Murray. Rookie Jeff Okudah has been as advertised so far. He is second on the team with 13 solo tackles despite playing in only two games. The former
sloppy shutdown cornerback at Ohio State also has a pick, a pass defended, and a couple of tackles for loss. The gameplan for the Lions defense will be similar to the Saints: Get pressure up front. Their secondary will also need to limit any big gains by Kamara, Sanders, etc. and continue to tackle well.
Date: October 4, 2020
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Detroit, MI
Stadium: Ford Field
TV Info: FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: NO -3 (-110) | DET +3 (-110)
Moneyline: NO -160 | DET +130
Over/Under: O 54 (-110) | U 54 (-110)
The Saints’ depth will be seriously tested today. With the Lions basically at full strength, taking the home dog could be a solid play. The over is probably the safest way to go. The Saints secondary is missing its top corners and Detroit has its full complement of receivers. On the other side, despite being without Thomas and Cook, Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense is still pretty good and has averaged 29 points per game.
Both teams are trying to get back to .500 in a tough NFC. This game should be a high-scoring affair with Stafford airing it out and the Saints’ offense picking at the Lions front seven. Ultimately, the Lions get the better of the depleted Saints and take a close one at home.
Final Score: New Orleans 30, Detroit 34
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