The Detroit Lions went on the road and got a big win Sunday in Arizona to improve their record to 1-2 on the young season. It doesn't get any easier for the Lions this week, as they come back home to Ford Field and square off against a New Orleans team desperate for a win after dropping their last two contests. The Saints haven't lost two games in a row in three years, and also find themselves at 1-2 to start the year.
Here are five key statistics this week for the Lions:
46.2: Detroit ranks 19th in total offense after three weeks, but one area where they've really struggled is in the red zone. The Lions scored a touchdown on two of their five possessions inside the Cardinals' red zone. For the year, Detroit's scored a touchdown on six of their 13 trips into the red zone. Their red zone efficiency rate of 46.2 percent ranks 27th. Their successful play percentage in the red zone is just 36.1 percent. Only the Jets have a lower percentage (33.3).
"Honestly we probably should have scored 40 there (against the Cardinals)," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford after Sunday's win.
"They gave us some great opportunities and we weren't able to capitalize in the red zone, which is something we need to make sure we work on, and make sure we're better at next week."
New Orleans ranks 30th in red zone defense this season, allowing a touchdown on 10 of the 12 drives opponents have reached the red zone.
0-2: The Saints have lost both games this season they've played without All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas, who led the NFL last season with 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. That's a lot of production the Saints are trying to replace while Thomas deals with a high ankle sprain.
Without their star receiver, the New Orleans offense has leaned on running back Alvin Kamara to be a true dual-threat weapon for them. Kamara caught nine balls for 95 yards in Week 2 against the Raiders, and 13 passes for 139 yards with two touchdowns Sunday night vs. Green Bay. He's been their go-to man in the passing game without Thomas.
Thomas' status for Sunday's game will be closely monitored this week. The Lions need to have a good plan for Kamara with or without Thomas, but especially if Thomas isn't able to play Sunday.
77.4: That's the passer rating for Detroit's first three opponents when throwing at second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
A lot of the early headlines for the Lions surrounding the cornerback position have highlighted the injuries they've suffered there to Desmond Trufant (hamstring) and Justin Coleman (hamstring; IR), and the play of No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah, but Oruwariye has played pretty well for Detroit these first three games. He started all three games and allowed just seven catches for 95 yards in his coverage so far this year.
8: Dropped passes for the Lions through their first three games, which is the most in the NFL so far this season. Detroit's pass catchers are dropping 10.8 percent of the catchable passes thrown their way, which is also the highest percentage in the league.
That statistic is a bit uncharacteristic for the Lions, who ranked fourth last season with a drop percentage of just 3.6 percent.
65: Jack Fox became the first punter in team history to launch a 65-yard punt in back-to-back games. He had a punting average of 55.5 and a net punting average of 50.5 against the Cardinals. Through three weeks, Fox leads the NFL in punting average (53.1) and net punting average (51.1).
Detroit's special teams all around have been very good this season under first-year coordinator Brayden Coombs. Detroit's allowing 2.0 yards per punt return, which ranks second in the NFL. The opponent average starting field position on kickoffs ranks in the top 10 (25.7 yard line).
Detroit's 17.5 punt-return average leads the NFL.
Detroit has missed two field goals on the year, but both were from 55-plus-yards. Kicker Matt Prater is 7-for-7 inside 50 yards this year on field goals and a perfect 7-for-7 on extra point tries.