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NFL Best Bets for Wildcard Weekend
January 5th 2012- Old Man Winner             

NO-10.5 vs. Det

Come playoff time teams begin to pull out all the stops - the special team fakes, the bootlegs, the exotic blitzes, etc. This is the time of year when games can get very lopsided as nothing is held back. It is also the time of year when the teams that are peaking and healthy tend to dominate their opposition. I also believe it is when coaching has a bigger impact on the outcome of games.

At first, I thought this was too big of a spread. It's hard to swallow over 10 points in a playoff game. However, if there is a team that can run up a score and is not afraid to totally bury a team it is the New Orleans Saints. They are on an eight game win streak, are undefeated at home this season, and have put up at least 42 points in each of their last three games, and 45 in each of their last two games - both at home.

Let's give this both a quantitative and qualitative look see . . .
First, the numbers:
- The Saints are #1 in total offense (467 yds/game), nearly 40 yards/game better than the next best team (NE).
- The Saints are #2 in total points scored, behind only GB
- The Saints are #1 in passing yards with 5,347 for the year. That is an all-time NFL record. And, to put it into perspective, that total is only 17 yards shy of the combined passing yards of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos combined - both playoff teams!
- The Saints are #6 in yards rushing. Yes, I was surprised to see that they are averaging 133 yds./game
- Drew Brees threw for 5,476 yds (all-time record), completed 71.2% of his passes (all-time record - topping his own), threw for 46 TD's (3rd most all-time), and ended the season with a 110 QB rating (behind only Aaron Rodgers all-time record). Exactly - he doesn't suck!- Drew Brees may be the most accurate passer of all time (if you've never watched his sports science segment you gotta check it out)
- Yes, the Lions are good offensively, but these Saints stats are legendary
- Defensively the Lions and Saints are 23rd and 24th respectively
- GB's second string QB, Matt Flynn, carved up the Lions defense last week to the tune of 480 yards and 6 passing TD's - and this was in a game that meant supposedly meant nothing to the Packers and something to the Lions.
Clear Advantage: Saints

Now the softer stuff:
Sean Payton is an offensive genius! He has collected studs at every offensive position and knows exactly how to create mismatches. You wanna go big, we'll go quick. You wanna go quick, we'll go big. You wanna blitz, we'll screen and draw you. You wanna drop 8, we'll dink and dunk you. As MC Hammer would say, "Can't Stop This!"

The Saints could have very easily been going to their third consecutive Super Bowl this year if not for the defensive egg that they laid in last year's wild card round of the playoffs where they lost to the Seahawks 41-36 in Seattle.

They will remember that game this week and won't let it happen again, especially not at home in the Superdome on prime time!

Saints 44 Lions 27
 


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