Burleson stands behind winning prediction

Nate Burleson (Andrew Weber, US Presswire)

Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson is sticking with his winning prediction, even though he made it before the team learned of its playoff opponent. Meanwhile, the defensive line prepares for Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Burleson Sticking With Prophecy 

Nate Burleson is never camera shy.

One of the team's leaders and most articulate speakers with an outgoing personality, he's not timid when it comes to expressing the confidence he has for his teammates.

He also is usually accurate in his assessments.

When he first arrived in Detroit — as he pointed out last week after one of the team's practices — he predicted he would be part of the Lions' turnaround and proclaimed that Calvin Johnson is the league's best receiver (a notion that was much less widely accepted back then).

Burleson's words were proven true a year later, provoking the receiver to make his next prophecy — one with much more immediate implications.

"My next prophecy is that The Detroit lions will win a playoff game," Burleson said last week.

Burleson wasn't referring to a distant year far off in the future, but rather, he was referring to this season and this team.

That was, of course, before the Lions knew which opponent they would face.

Now that the Lions' opponent has been determined as the 13-3 New Orleans Saints, a team that has already defeated the Lions once this season, is Burleson sticking with his prediction?

"To be honest, I have no choice," Burleson said. "If I say I'm not sure we're going to win, it shows I have no confidence in my team, so, I'm pretty sure that every team that is in this 12-team tournament right now is thinking the same thing, we are going to win our first game, so I'm definitely going to stick by it.

"We have to win, we have no choice. The story is not done yet, I don't want to close the chapter on Saturday."

Sacks More Important than Batted Balls

For all his strengths and accomplishments, quarterback Drew Brees comes up short in one area: his height.

Brees stands at exactly six-feet tall, which is considered short by NFL quarterback standards.

Brees' shorter-than-average stature can increase the likelihood of batted balls at the line of scrimmage due to the fact that he is attempting to throw over a group of men who are significantly taller than him.

Although batted balls are one way to derail a passing play, the Lions would prefer to leverage another method.

"You get your hands up, but our main objective is to get the sacks instead of just getting the battled ball," Lions defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill said. "Batted balls are all good, but we have to do what it takes to put pressure (on Brees) in that pocket to get the sack."

With what figures to be a full complement of players on the defensive line, the Lions should be able to utilize their depth at the position in an effort to disrupt Brees' pocket on passing plays.

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