The defensive line will need a stellar performance to help the Lions to a win

Posted Jan 5, 2012

The Lions don't stand a chance of stopping Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Saturday unless their defensive line shows up to play.

The Lions need Ndamukong Suh to channel his inner rookie-season Suh.

They need Corey Williams to be disruptive in the backfield.

The Lions could use a similar first-quarter performance from Nick Fairley in the first meeting with the Saints.

They need ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril to squeeze quarterback Drew Brees in the pocket.

Simply put, the Lions need their defensive line to have themselves a day.

"We had a couple sacks in the (first) game, but they made it very, very difficult for us to rush and we're a team that is built to rush the passer," said Lions coach Jim Schwartz. "That's one of the big match-ups in this game."

The Lions sacked Brees just twice in a 31-17 loss earlier this season and only hit him four times.

Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns in the game.

The Lions are as healthy as they've been upfront in weeks with Williams (hip) being a full participant in practice all week. Fairley (foot) appears to be moving much better than he has in weeks.

Defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who missed the first game with a thigh bruise, is back in the line-up. And defensive end Willie Young (ankle) has been a full participant in practice all week after being limited the last few weeks.

Let's not forget that Suh is ready to roll after missing the first game because of a suspension.

"We have a very deep defensive line," Schwartz said. "We roll a lot of guys through. We didn't have that the first time we played them.

"We didn't have the depth that we normally have and we like to have eight guys active; we like to roll eight guys through, and we're at our best when we're doing that and we're obviously closer to that than we've been for maybe four or five, six weeks now."

Getting pressure on Brees is no easy task, though. The Saints' offensive line does a good job with their protections, chipping on the edges and using six and seven blockers at times. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been sacked only 24 times in 662 passing attempts this season.

But it can be done.

One of the keys in the Rams' 31-21 upset of the Saints in Week 8 was that they sacked Brees six times and harassed him the whole game.

The Lions front four is touted as a strength on this football team and Schwartz was even picking nicknames for them (Silver Crush) before the season.

Well, it's the playoffs. Time to prove it.