A pair of teams that harbored playoff aspirations but are now reduced to playing out the string will square off when the New Orleans Saints host the Detroit Lions on Monday night. The Lions expected to be in the hunt for the NFC North title while the Saints hoped to contend for the NFC South, but both teams are mired in the basement of their respective divisions.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw a pair of scoring passes last week to move past Dan Marino (420) for fourth place on the all-time list, but he said such milestones are not his main focus. “For me, at this stage of my career, it is about winning,” Brees said. “It is about finding a way to win another championship. I want to go win another championship.” While the Saints halted a four-game losing streak with a 24-17 victory at Tampa Bay last week, Detroit dropped its second in a row following a three-game winning streak with a 21-14 setback at St. Louis. The Lions are 1-5 on the road, including three defeats during their season-opening five-game losing streak.
TV: 8:30 ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Saints opened as 3-point home favorites and have been bet down a half-point to sit at -2.5. The total has been bet up one-point, going from 50 to 51.
Lions – WR L. Moore (probable Monday, ankle), WR C. Johnson (probable Monday, ankle), DT G. Wright (questionable Monday, ankle), TE B. Pettigrew (I-R, knee).
Saints – NT J. Jenkins (questionable Monday, concussion), G J. Evans (questionable Monday, ankle), CB D. Swann (I-R, concussion), RB M. Ingram (I-R, shoulder).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Lions (+4) – Saints (+2.5) + home field (-3) = Saints -4.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Saints utilized a ball control offense in their win at Tampa. Only two Drew Brees passes went for more than 20 yards and the Saints had more than 37 minutes of possession. While for the Lions, in the midst of a dismal overall season, DE Ziggy Ansah has been a bright spot with 13.5 sacks, just ½ a sack off the NFL lead.” – Covers Expert Teddy Covers.
ABOUT THE LIONS (4-9, 4-9 ATS, 7-6 O/U): Matthew Stafford has played well over the past five weeks with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions and has put up some huge numbers against the Saints, averaging 362.3 yards passing in the past three meetings (playoffs included). Golden Tate had nine catches and a pair of touchdowns a week ago, but star wideout Calvin Johnson was held to one reception after hauling in four touchdown passes over the previous two weeks. Detroit’s running game ranks last in the NFL at 79.3 yards per game, while defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is among the bright spots on the other side of the ball.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (5-8, 6-6-1 ATS, 7-5-1 O/U): New Orleans ranks last in the league in points allowed (30.5) and is 31st in total yards surrendered (414.8), although it permitted a season-low 291 yards in last week’s victory. Brees halted a six-game interception streak against the Buccaneers and received some surprising support from fourth-string running back Tim Hightower, who had sat out the previous three seasons but had 85 yards on 28 carries in his first extensive action since 2011. Rookie Willie Snead returned to the lineup after a one-game absence and had seven receptions for 122 yards.
* Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five Monday games.
* Saints are 0-6 ATS in their last six games versus a team with a losing record.
* Under is 8-1 in Lions last nine Monday games.
* Over is 3-0-1 in Saints last four home games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: A heavy majority of bettors are backing the Saints in this matchup, with 70 percent of wagers on New Orleans. Bettors also think this will be a high scoring affair with 73 percent of wagers on the over.