The Detroit Lions Thanksgiving feast turned sour with a 29-22 loss to the Packers, but the team is poised to cleanse their palate this Sunday. As they gear up to face the 5-6 New Orleans Saints, the 8-3 Lions are not just chasing victory; they’re hunting for redemption. The mood in Motor City? Optimistically cautious, with a sprinkle of determination. After all, bouncing back is in the Lions’ DNA.
Campbell’s Recipe for Success: Rest, Review, Rejuvenate
Dan Campbell, the Lions’ charismatic leader, isn’t just about fiery speeches; he’s a strategist at heart. Post-Green Bay, his game plan involved some downtime and critical game tape analysis.
“Just a little bit of rest and recovery…a minute to just kind of step back…you can go back and watch Chicago, you can go back and watch Green Bay and kind of gather your thoughts in a two-game sequence, just where can we really help and get a little bit better? So, those go a long way on top of the fact (that) now you’re getting ready for this opponent,” he remarked, underlining the need for physical and mental rejuvenation. Think of it as a mini-hibernation for the Lions, waking up fiercer and more focused than ever.
Campbell’s approach is prudent, especially considering the Lions’ recent schedule. Three games in 12 days is no small feat, and it seemed to show in their performance against the Packers. This break provides not just physical respite but also a chance for tactical introspection.
The Lions have been riding a wave of praise lately, but complacency is not on their menu. Remembering the bitter aftertaste of Thanksgiving at Ford Field, they’re wise enough to know that resting on laurels is a dangerous game.
Education, Stimulation and Motivation
Detroit sports media icon Terry Foster once told me that success in the NFL hinges on education, stimulation, and motivation. For the Lions, the lesson is clear: relentless effort is non-negotiable. Their drive? A hopeful playoff spot and a deep postseason run. The Saints, too, are in a tight race in the NFC South, adding another layer of intensity to this matchup.
Riddled with injuries, the Saints are not at their strongest, but they have depth. Alvin Kamara remains a major threat, and their defense, proficient in takeaways, can’t be underestimated.
Back to the Bayou for Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn
Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn bring an intimate understanding of the Saints. It’s a trip down memory lane to their coaching days under the former Saints coach, Sean Payton. Campbell, who was the assistant head coach and tight ends coach under Payton, spent five seasons there, shaping a squad that bagged four NFC South titles and dominated the league’s offense rankings.
Aaron Glenn, too, has deep ties with the Saints, where he transformed the secondary into one of the league’s toughest from 2016 to 2020. Under his watch, the 2020 New Orleans’ defense ranked among the top five in the league for yards and points allowed. The Saints also led the league in interceptions that year, a testament to Glenn.
As they step onto the Superdome turf, Campbell and Glenn are revisiting a part of their professional legacy, adding emotional depth to this already charged matchup. They’re bringing back a piece of New Orleans with them, mixed with a dash of Detroit determination.
As the Lions regroup post-Thanksgiving, there’s an added intensity brewing. The return to the Superdome for Campbell and Glenn infuses an extra layer of focus. Expect them to arrive in New Orleans with a point to prove and a complete football game to play.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
Original Photo Credit: © David Reginek – USA TODAY Sports