One look at the Saints’ record and you would think the Packers to be gliding into their bye week. Such is far from the case as the Packers take on an angry Saints team that is known for rising to the occasion at home in prime time. Undoubtedly the toughest game on their schedule, the Packers can only hope to carry over some of the success put on display versus the Panthers last Sunday.
The Packers’ last trip to New Orleans was one to forget, as the defense allowed a field day to Drew Brees, beginning a five-game spiral in Rodgers’ first season as a starter. Six years later, the defense now plays out of a 3-4 base and boasts a true pass rush. However, the 2nd-ranked Saints offense presents the biggest challenge faced by Dom Capers’ defense since facing Brees in the 2011 opener.
Perhaps the scariest part about the Saints’ offensive attack is not the electric passing game led by Brees but the fact that it can be balanced with a loaded backfield consisting of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. Behind this trio, the New Orleans running game ranks 13th in the league – not bad for a team that prefers to get business done through the air.
Key for a Packers defense that could be missing Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett will be forcing turnovers. It’s inevitable that Brees will keep the chains moving for four straight quarters – however, an interception or forced fumble to steal a possession from the Saints might be all it takes to come away with an ugly win in the Big Easy.
The Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl is sure to witness a shootout on Sunday night, compliments of two of the best passers in the game. On paper, the Packers’ defense has played better versus the pass. Playing on the road and in a loud, prime time environment should make this game about as competitive as any in Week 8.