The New Orleans Saints welcome the Detroit Lions to town on Saturday in what could be the most exciting match-up of the NFL's Wild Card Weekend. But the two teams have been among the league's most moribund franchises more often than not, meaning that New Orleans' lifetime 11-9-1 advantage over the Lions is really a product of the last few years.
Only the Saints are truly scary in the 2012 NFL playoffs, according to SB Nation's survey of the Super Bowl chances of Wild Card Weekend teams, and Andrew Sharp calls New Orleans "definitely the best team in the Wild Card round.". But if they should win on Saturday, that would be in keeping with recent history.
The Saints and Lions have met in three of the last four years — in the midst of New Orleans' offensive renaissance with Sean Payton calling plays and Drew Brees aerating defenses — and New Orleans has won those three games by a combined 118-51 count, with Detroit's closest loss being their 31-17 defeat in December.
Prior to those games, though, the series was a little more even: the Lions had a three-game winning streak over New Orleans in the early 2000s, with no win coming by more than a possession, and the Saints had a three-game winning streak in the mid-1990s, but the teams more or less alternated wins in their series history before the '90s.