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Lions-Saints has ingredients for a shootout

By Brett Martel

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 5:00 p.m. MST

"The thing that gets lost in this whole offensive explosion they have had is that the most points the (Saints') defense has given up in the last (five) weeks has been 20 points," Schwartz said. "That is very good with so many explosive offenses in the NFL."

Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said the Saints will use every tool within increasingly stringent rules regarding helmet hits to plant the threat of pain in the minds of a talented Detroit receiving corps led by 6-foot-5 Calvin Johnson.

"We do play very physical and one of the things that we do is, guys that are 6-5 end up being 5-5 when they get flipped over on their head," Williams said. "They didn't say the rule says that the ground couldn't hurt their head, so we've got to find ways to make the ground be a part of it."

Detroit's defense allowed Green Bay backup Matt Flynn to throw for 480 yards and six TDs in a 45-41 loss last Sunday. Still, Detroit has some feared defensive play-makers, and some of them, including defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Chris Houston, did not play in the first trip to New Orleans. Rookie lineman Nick Fairley had a sack, but missed much of the game with pain in his left foot.

Meanwhile, Detroit ranks third in the NFL in stopping teams on third down, even better than New Orleans, which ranks fifth.

"There's no telling what's going to happen," Lions cornerback Eric Wright said. "They've got the ability to put up as many points as you can imagine, but every week is different. ... I'm just glad we've got some guys back that we didn't have the last time we were down there. I always like our chances to avoid a shootout because we have a good defense. You can't let one game make you forget how you look at yourself."

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed from Allen Park, Mich.

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