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Over/Under Pick for Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

Detroit Lions(7-4) @ New Orleans Saints(5-6)

  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • When: December 4, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Lions +5.5 (-105) vs. Saints -5.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Lions +220 vs. Saints -260
  • Over / Under: Over 53.5 (-110) vs. Under 53.5 (-110)

The surging Detroit Lions try to win their fourth straight game and maintain their hold on first place in the NFC North on Sunday when they face a New Orleans Saints squad that needs a win to bolster its fading playoff chances.

The Lions hold a one-game lead atop the North and completed a sweep of the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving with a 16-13 home victory. Matt Prater’s two field goals in the final 1:45, the second of which was set up by a late interception by Darius Slay, rallied Detroit to its sixth win in seven games.

Detroit has yet to have a blowout game in either direction – all 11 games have been decided by single digits – and its three wins during its current run have been by a combined 16 points. Though the Lions are 2-3 on the road, they have struggled defensively there, forcing just one turnover while allowing an average of 24.4 points and 357.6 yards.

New Orleans, meanwhile, is trying again to get back to .500 after pummeling the Los Angeles Rams 49-21 last Sunday. Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns, two of them coming in the third quarter when the Saints took control of the game, and ran for a fifth as the Saints remained 1 1/2 games behind the Washington Redskins for the final wild-card spot.

Brees reached 30 TD passes for the ninth straight season and has 12 in his last four games while completing 75.7 percent of his passes for 1,221 yards in that span. The Saints have also made some progress defensively by allowing a combined 470 yards in their last two games – both the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers had 486 yards against them earlier this season.

Brees Likely to Exploit the Lions Secondary

With the bye week and back-to-back home games, this is the first time the Lions have been on the road since beating the Vikings 22-16 in overtime in Week 9. But their pass defense has been awful in those five away games – opposing quarterbacks have a 113.6 passer rating while completing 71.0 percent of their passes for 1,251 yards and 12 TDs with only one interception.

Despite a 2-3 lifetime record against the Lions after a 35-27 home loss last season in which he threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, Brees has picked apart their secondary with 1,734 yards and 16 TD passes against just two interceptions. Additionally, no one has stopped Brees as home this year – the veteran signal-caller has a 116.7 passer rating in six contests, throwing for 2,142 yards and 19 TDs.

Can the Lions Get Their Running Game Going?

The Lions have not overrelied on Matthew Stafford this season, and he is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career with 2,883 passing yards and 19 TDs with only five interceptions. But the running game has been non-existent – Detroit has not rushed for 100 yards as a team since its Week 2 loss to Tennessee – and ranks 30th at 80.8 yards per game. What the Lions have been able to do is sustain drives, they lead the league with an average of 9.23 plays on scoring drives and are second with 22 drives of at least five minutes.

In order to help limit Brees’ time on the field given his efficiency in shredding secondaries, the Lions will have to find a way to move the ball consistently, and that means running backs Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington must move the chains to help Stafford.

Why I’m Taking the OVER

In the previous four games between the teams with Stafford and Brees at quarterback, the teams have combined to score at least 47 points and as many as 72. While the under has hit in four of New Orleans’ last six games, the over has hit in nine of the last 11 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. While Detroit’s pass-defending woes were mentioned earlier, the Saints aren’t much better anywhere – they’re 27th in pass defense, giving up 285.6 yards per game.

Every game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season has been a shootout with a minimum of 45 points scored, and there have been 69 or more points scored in four of those six games. With plenty at stake for both teams, more so the Saints since they’re fighting for their playoff lives, expect another high-scoring game.

My recommendation is to take the OVER of 53.5 (-110) at the Bovada Sportsbook.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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