Green Bay Packers Versus the New Orleans Saints Preview and Prediction: Week 1
The time has finally arrived. New Orleans Saints regular season football is here. First on the agenda will be a rematch from last year’s contest against the Green Bay Packers. The game ended with the Packers winning 37-30.
During last season’s game with the Packers, there was a moment where the Saints were within range of taking the lead from Green Bay. With the score tied at 27, Sean Payton sent in Taysom Hill to run a zone option on second-and-3 from the Packers’ 41.
He fumbled the ball on a hit from linebacker Za’Darius Smith. Green Bay regained momentum and never looked back. On Sunday afternoon, the Saints will have an opportunity to avenge last season’s Week 3 defeat as they navigate through the 2021 campaign without the presence of Drew Brees.
Today, we break down and preview Sunday’s matchup that will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. The game will still be recognized as a home game for the Saints despite not playing in the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. Due to the damage from Hurricane Ida, the Saints are not expected to play in the Dome until their Week 4 game against the New York Giants.
Saints Three Keys to Victory Versus the Packers
1. Take Advantage of Green Bay’s Injured Offensive Line
One of the National Football League’s best-left tackles in David Bakhtiari will start the season on the PUP list. Green Bay will have two rookies that will step in while Bakhtiari continues to heal from last year’s season-ending injury.
The absence of the All-Pro left tackle is a golden opportunity for the Saints to capitalize on a potential weakness along Green Bay’s offensive line. If New Orleans can bring a consistent pass-rush throughout this game, it will pay huge dividends. As we all know, the Packers will go as far as Aaron Rodgers will take them.
2. Locate Potential Weaknesses in the Packers Defense
One thing Coach Payton is highly proficient at is identifying weaknesses in opposing defenses. He must have the same mentality with Jameis Winston under center. Wide receiver Marquez Callaway will most likely be up against the Packers’ number one corner in Jaire Alexander. However, the biggest factor in Sunday’s matchup will be the utilization of running back Alvin Kamara.
The Packers’ defense will most likely sell out to stop Kamara and the Saints rushing attack. However, that’s where things can get interesting when it comes to the playcalling of Payton. Expect New Orleans to identify cracks in the Packers’ defense so that they can attack relentlessly until they can adjust.
3. Maintain a Balanced Attack
If the Saints’ defense is showing that they are having difficulty slowing down Rodgers, then the best response from the offense is to utilize a balanced attack. Their offense line is stable enough to get the job done. As we have seen in the past, when a team can control the time of possession by being balanced, it is deemed the best recipe for success when facing an elite quarterback such as Rodgers.
From a mental aspect, Payton will have the Saints prepared to face the Packers. The defense will make it difficult for Rodgers throughout this game, but he will find a way to overcome any challenges that he may encounter against New Orleans. At the moment, there’s too much uncertainty within the Saints secondary outside of Marshon Lattimore to be confident in choosing New Orleans to win this Sunday. It is human nature to overreact on the day after a football game has ended. It is only one game, and the Saints have plenty of time to recover and get on a roll.
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Photo courtesy of NFL.com.