Lions Using Productive Paranoia to Surge Atop the NFC North

"During that time of the year, you've got to be playing your best football", he said. Perhaps it's because his team's results really have vacillated that wildly over the past two games, from a dominant 49-21 rout of the Los Angeles Rams two games ago to an anemic 28-13 loss at home to Detroit on Sunday.

However, they can expect no favors from the Lions today, as Detroit themselves do not have much room for error. All of the Detroit's seven wins have happened after the organization trailed going into the fourth quarter of the game. The Lions played their most complete game of the season against the Saints, holding the NFL's most prolific offense to 369 yards and 13 points while Stafford threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has full confidence in his signal caller and even suggested a few weeks ago that he could eventually be enshrined in Canton.

One play sums up the past three seasons for the Saints and their fans. They aren't being particularly vicious, but they're getting the point across quite clearly.

The Lions are tied with the Patriots and the Bills for the fewest giveaways this season at just 8, thanks largely to Stafford who has been exceptional at taking care of the ball.

Stafford was at his best when the Saints were on the brink of seizing momentum early in the fourth quarter and locking the Lions into yet another high-stress affair.

Stafford went over 3,200 yards passing for the season Sunday, he is completing 67 percent of his passes and he has thrown one interception in Detroit's past eight games.

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Tate caught the pass on the right side and ran diagonally across the field to beat safety Vonn Bell to the end zone.

The long scoring toss was Detroit's third conversion on a third down of 10 or more yards, leading to 16 points. Then the Lions signed Anquan Boldin just before training camp, pushing Jones down the depth chart. "I turned into a running back and scored". On the play, the Lions had lots of pre-snap movement, confusing the Saints and Riddick emerged uncovered in the flat for an easy score to make it 1-0 with 13:03 to play in the half.

To start the following drive, Brees tried to take a deep shot downfield on 2nd and 6, but Glover Quin made an excellent diving deflection to take away a huge gain. While the Lions have done well spreading the ball to several pass-catchers throughout their successful first three quarters of the season, they could use a target to count on down the stretch.

A loss on Sunday would virtually guarantee the Saints a third straight year out of the playoffs. It's going to be, I think, tougher for defenses in a certain way in that they don't know who we're going to.

He passes the eye test each and every week, shifting around the pocket and finding the tightest of windows to sling the ball through.

Saints coach Sean Payton has been known to echo a catch phrase from his mentor, Bill Parcells, who'd mock media coverage of National Football League teams by saying it's either a "crisis or carnival" from week to week, depending on the most recent result. "We had trouble staying on the field".

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