Lions-Saints shootout no given
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 7:00 pm
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sean Payton cautioned against assuming that a game featuring prolific quarterbacks Drew Brees and Matt Stafford would escalate into a shootout.
If Payton really believes that, it is only because coaches must consider wide-ranging possibilities and show respect to players on both sides of the ball.
Odds makers have different priorities, and they’ve set the over-under at 59 for Saturday night’s first-round playoff game between the Detroit Lions (10-6) and New Orleans Saints (13-3). That is the highest ever for an NFL playoff game — likely because no game has ever involved two quarterbacks coming off seasons quite so good.
Brees set single-season NFL records for yards passing (5,476) and completion percentage (71.2) this season, while Stafford joined Brees among two of only four quarterbacks ever to pass for more than 5,000 yards in a season. Moreover, Brees and Stafford will be in ideal passing conditions inside the Superdome.
Brees said he could understand why an offensive feast could be expected when the Lions return to the Crescent City for the second time this season, but he also agreed with his coach that assuming how a game will play out can be risky.
“Obviously I know how explosive Detroit is offensively,” Brees said. “I also know that I think we feel like we’re playing (good) football as a team and as an offense. But you know, it seems like, typically, when you get weeks like this where everybody’s hyping up one side of the ball … and kind of predicting it to be a shootout or whatever, the defenses are off kind of quietly in the corner making sure they come out with their best performance.”
The previous high over-under was 57 when Brees’ Saints hosted Arizona in the 2009-10 divisional round, and it was the over that hit by two when the Saints rolled to a 45-14 victory.
The record for points scored in a playoff game is 96 — a 51-45 Arizona victory over Green Bay, also in the 2009-10 season, the week before that same Arizona team took its Big Easy beating.
Published in The Messenger 1.6.12