Brees hit on 33 of 43 passes while throwing for the most yards in a regulation playoff game. He highlighted his night with three completions of at least 40 yards.
As usual, the quarterback had plenty of help from an offense that set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage this season (7,474). The Saints (14-3) gained a whopping 627 yards of total offense, and will travel to San Francisco for next Saturday's second-round game.
Matthew Stafford threw for 380 yards and three TDs for the Lions (10-7), who simply could not keep pace in their first playoff appearance since 1999. They have lost seven straight playoff games.
All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had 12 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his playoff debut for Detroit.hted his night with three completions of at least 40 yards.
The teams combined for 1,083 yards, tying an NFL playoff record set by Buffalo and Miami on Dec. 30, 1995.
Pierre Thomas rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown, while Sproles added 51 yards, two scores and several other clutch plays.
Marques Colston overcame an early fumble with seven catches for 120 yards, including a 40-yarder to set up Jimmy Graham's short TD grab.
Robert Meachem had four catches for 111 yards, including a 56-yard score. Devery Henderson added a 41-yard touchdown reception.