NFC Wild Card 2012: Lions-Saints Shootout? Maybe Not

Most experts are predicting a high scoring NFC Wild Card game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions this weekend but at least one person thinks that may not be the case. SB Nation's Saints blog, Canal Street Chronicles, looks at the Saints defense and some of the criticisms they've seen this year.

That's because they're almost assuredly looking at the most obvious stat and the one that would make most sense to check first: average total yards allowed per game. And it's true, the Saints defense gives up a crap load of yardage. There's no denying that. You've seen it, I've seen it, we've all seen it. Over the last eight games, their defense has given up an average of 390.9 yards per game. Had that been their season average, it would be piss poor enough to rank them 29th overall in the league. As it stands they've completed the regular season as the 24th ranked defense overall.

Yes, the Saints are ranked 24th in yards allowed but they're lower in points allowed per game -- 13th in the league. We've seen the same issue with the Patriots and Packers -- they give up a ton of yards. But that's also because you're dealing with some of the best offenses in the game and teams are usually behind and need to pass to catch up, thus all the yards.

In reality, though, the Saints have been better on defense. Like the Patriots, they give up a lot of yards but they also make key stops.

I'm not ready to say this will be a 10-7 game or anything like that but the Saints defense is better than they're given credit for.

Check out Canal Street Chronicles for the latest on the Saints and Pride of Detroit for the latest on the Lions, and head on over to the SBNation NFL news hub for everything you need to know about the 2012 playoffs.

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