The Packers travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football. This final game before the bye also signals the halfway point in the season for the Packers. If the Packers can get a win against the Saints, they will be in a very enviable position going into the second half of the season, tied with the Lions with the tie breaker at Lambeau.
Notable Saints Injuries:
NT Brodrick Bunkley went out of last week’s game against the Lions with a concussion and was limited in practice Wednesday. Center Jonathan Goodwin went out with a knee injury and did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Pierre Thomas’ rib/shoulder injury kept him out of practice. This injury is expected to keep Thomas out for 2-3 weeks.
What 2 Watch 4
Drew Brees. Brees put up over 342 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Lions in a one point loss. That game was played in Detroit. The Saints will still be sore about the loss (in more ways then one), and will look to take their frustration at not being able to win on the road out on the Packers at home. Brees is great at looking off coverage but if the Packers can get to him quickly, it can offset his ability to use his eyes. The opportunity for interceptions is there if the D-line gets to Brees early and often. Kenny Stills is a dangerous WR and had a 46 yard touchdown reception versus the Lions, and Jimmy Graham will be expected to play more than he did last week, he was a limited participant in practice but creates mismatch problems for a Packers team that struggles against good tight ends.
The Saints love to use Pierre Thomas out of the backfield and will miss him in this game. But the Packers need to keep the pressure on and have good play in the defensive backfield if they want to keep the Saints from scoring 20 or more points.
Defensively, the Saints have struggled all year…all year, except last weekend in Detroit. The Lions had to storm back from down 10-23 to win the game and won on a drive that had a pass interference called on forth down…on a play that would not have gone for a first down anyway.
But the defense, while effective for the most part, found itself out of position several times before the snap. If the Packers roll out the no-huddle, look to see Aaron Rodgers take advantage of that.
The Saints defense got pressure on Stafford, played well on the backend but came up short in the end. Aaron Rodgers is a much better Quarterback and will be a much bigger test for the Saints in terms of matchups. But our O-line will have to continue the improved play that we have seen in the last couple games.
If Eddie Lacy can stay North and South against the Saints defense and establish the run early, this should be another opportunity for the Pack to keep pace with the Lions. But if the Packers can’t get home against Drew Brees, It could be a long night Sunday Night.