Although the regular season came to an end on a sour note for the Detroit Lions, what happened this past Sunday against the Green Bay Packers is squarely in the rear-view mirror. This is because the Lions' season is not over. They are playoff bound for the first time since 1999 and are headed to New Orleans to battle the red-hot Saints on Saturday.
This won't be the first meeting between the Lions and Saints this season. In fact, it'll be the second time the teams have met in a little more than a month. The first meeting came on Dec. 4 at the Superdome and saw the Saints beat Detroit 31-17 in a game filled with penalty flags on the Lions. Detroit made things close after being blown out early on, but it couldn't overcome the mental mistakes, Ndamukong Suh's suspension and injuries to Kevin Smith, Louis Delmas, Chris Houston and others.
On Saturday night in New Orleans, the Lions will hope to pull off quite the upset. Seemingly everybody has the Saints winning this game, and the Lions are actually considered by many to be double-digit underdogs. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising given what Matt Flynn was able to do against the Lions at Lambeau Field. With Drew Brees facing the Lions in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs, many expect a lot of points to be scored.
Win or lose, the very fact that the Lions are back in the playoffs just three years after going 0-16 constitutes this season as a success. Of course, pulling off an upset against the Saints and winning just their second playoff game since 1957 would make this an even bigger success. It may seem unlikely, but anything can happen in the playoffs. Just ask last year's Packers, which were written off by most upon entering the playoffs with a 10-6 record and the No. 6 seed. They ended up winning the Super Bowl. Now, I'm not saying the Lions will repeat that by any means, but it's foolish to write off a team with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on it.
In any case, the Lions and Saints will get things started at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Saturday night. NBC will handle the broadcast, just as it did the first time these two teams met this season.