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Friday open thread: Which Lions player will be the x-factor against the Saints?

Which Lions player will have the biggest impact on the game Sunday?

Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints are familiar enough with each other that they almost seem like division rivals at this point. The two teams have faced off for three straight years, and this game will be the eighth matchup since 2008.

At this point, the two teams are likely so familiar with each other and their (similar) offenses, that they probably know what’s coming on Sunday before it happens. While the personnel changes every year, these team’s identities have remained somewhat the same over the past few seasons.

With the teams so well acquainted with each other, it’s going to take the effort of a few individuals to tip the scales one way or another. So today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Lions player will be the x-factor in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints?

My answer: Golden Tate.

If you listened to our First Byte preview podcast for the game, you may remember our guest, Bob Rose, bringing up the fact that Tate has been a Saints killer over the past few years. He was not exaggerating. Here are Tate’s statlines from the past three games in the series:

2016: 8 catches, 145 yards, 1 TD
2015: 6 catches, 45 yards, 2 TDs
2014: 10 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD

You can get the sense Tate is already excited to face off against this defense again:

Throwback from one of our last battles for with NO. Want this feeling again! #SundayGoals #Showtime

A post shared by Golden Tate (@showtimetate) on

The Saints defense is getting better and they’ve added a few youngsters in the secondary, but they aren’t there yet. I don’t believe they’ll have an answer for Tate, especially if Kenny Golladay is back and can push Tate into the slot, where he’s the most dangerous.

Your turn.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.