Sorry about the "slowlights", but that's the best I can do since the NFL doesn't like embedding. Anyway, the Lions were rolling into New Orleans, one of the best passing offenses in the league, and they shut it down. The Lions defense is one of those things that makes no sense to me. They haven't had their best LB all year, the rest of the LB corps and secondary are all banged up, and they're getting a down year from Ziggy Ansah (14.5 sacks last year, 0 this year). In fact, if you had told me in preseason that they'd be down Levy, Ameer Abdullah, a handful of others in the RB, LB, and secondary, and Ansah would have zero sacks through week 13, I'd have said we'd be lucky to have 4 wins. We have 8.
The defense, somehow, has been pretty ok. They're middle of the pack when it comes to yards allowed, HORRIBLE when it comes to QB completion %, upper third when it comes to points allowed, and practically dead last when it comes to defensive efficiency. This doesn't make them look like world-beaters, but essentially their role has been to keep the game within reach in the 4th quarter, and Stafford/Prater will come back in win it probably. The Lions trailed in the 4th quarter in 7 of their 8 wins this season, and in 6 of their wins the go-ahead points were scored with less than 2 minutes left in the game or in OT.
Not this game. The Lions pretty much controlled the game from start to finish. They had problems getting into the endzone, but they moved the ball well, owned the clock, and put points on the board. Stafford looked like Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, as far as moving around and running for first downs. Tate had a really good game. And the defense kept NOLA's receivers in front and picked Brees off three times. This was the first complete game the Lions have played all year, they did it against a halfway decent team, and it felt pretty good.
Looking ahead (which I am loath to do but feel I must), the Lions' schedule gets a bit harder. They get the 3-9 Bears first, which is by far their easiest opponent.
Then on 12/18, the Lions go to the Meadowlands to see a very tough (currently) 8-4 Giants team, and the following week they'll go to Dallas to see the (currently) 11-1 Cowboys. The season finale will be played vs. the (currently but playing better lately) 6-6 Packers (at Ford Field, fortunately, and not in Lambeau). The Lions will not be favored in any of these games, and the season really could come down to that last game against Green Bay.
I'm saying don't go buying your playoff tickets yet. I like what I see, especially from Stafford. I loved the complete effort on Sunday. But the Lions need to take care of business against Chicago and GB if this is going to happen. In my opinion, the only way to make the playoffs without beating the Packers is if the Lions win their next 3 games.