What We Learned Against the Saints

The Packers’ October momentum was put to a halt in Week 8 as a desperate Saints team delivered at IMG_0894.JPGhome in prime time. Despite the frustration of falling one game back to the Lions in the division, the loss was the most ‘acceptable’ of any Packers loss this season. The Packers were missing three starters on defense and were facing a New Orleans club that was in the closest must-win situation that a team could be during the month of October.

Without Morgan Burnett, Sam Shields and Datone Jones, the Green Bay defense actually fared well during the first half, allowing 16 points but forcing zero punts. In the second half, things got out of hand quickly, which was mostly due to the defense’s inability to stop the run. Just as has been the case all season, the absence of nose tackle B.J. Raji allowed the opposing offense to pick up yards on early downs and establish a tempo. Inexcusable were the many missed tackles and continued poor play from the inside linebacker spot.

Eddie Lacy vs SaintsPoor fundamentals plagued the team on offense as well, with a large number of dropped passes compromising good drives. Despite two interceptions on his stat line, Aaron Rodgers played exceptionally well, while dealing with a pulled hamstring for the entire second half. Outside of Rodgers, one reason to remain optimistic on the offense is the superb protection that he has received for weeks on end.

If there was an MVP in Green Bay’s losing effort, it was Eddie Lacy, who was a force against the New Orleans defense both on the ground and through the air. After the game, Mike McCarthy commented that the game was Lacy’s best as a Packer – which says a lot about No.27’s performance. Lacy will naturally be used more as the temperatures drop, which explains McCarthy’s tendency to rotate Starks into the lineup and preserve his greatest ground asset as much as possible.

The bye week could not have come at a better time for the banged up Packers, who face a troubled Chicago Bears team on Sunday night in Week 10. The returns of Burnett, Shields, Jones, J.C. Tretter and T.J. Lang will surely help the Packers’ chances in a game that may not be as easy as some are making it out to be.

What We Learned Against the Saints

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