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Packers Face Saints in Early Season Test

The New Orleans Saints host the Green Bay Packers on September 12 at 4:25 Eastern Time. Although technically a home game, there isn’t much of a home field advantage since the game will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Last season, the Packers went 13-3, while the Saints posted a 12-4 record. The game will have a different feel since the Saints will have a new quarterback running the show for the first time since 2005. The Packers enter the contest as a 4-point road favorite.

Offensively, the Packers led the league in scoring last season at 31.8 points per game and the Saints were fifth at 30.1 points per contest. Defensively, the Saints allowed the 5th fewest points per game at 21.1 and the Packers ranked near the middle of the pack, 13th at 23.1 points allowed per game.

One key matchup is at quarterback between Aaron Rodgers and Jameis Winston. Rodgers is coming of this third MVP season and seemingly is getting better with age. He had an incredible 48-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a passer rating of 121.5. Winston has always had the raw talent, but has been prone to the interception, as seen in his 33-to-30 touchdown to interception ratio in his last season as a starter with the Buccaneers in 2019.

Billy Turner

Sep 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with guard Billy Turner (77) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers loves to target Davante Adams, and in just a little over 13 games, had 115 catches for nearly 1400 yards and 18 touchdowns. Tight end Robert Tonyan had 53 catches for 11 touchdowns last season and is one to watch in the red zone. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling add to the weapons at Rodgers’ disposal. On the ground, Aaron Jones looks to pick up where he left off in 2020 when he rushed for 1104 yards and nine touchdowns. Old reliable Mason Crosby returns to take care of the placekicking duties. On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers had 41 sacks last season led by Za’Darius Smith’s 12.5. Putting heat on Winston could create much needed turnovers in what could be a shootout.

A player to watch for on the Saints is running back Alvin Kamara. Although he rushed for a career-high 937 yards last season, Kamara is known for being a huge threat out of the backfield. Last season he hauled in 83 for 756 yards and five touchdowns. With Latavius Murray gone, Tony Jones Jr, who had only three carries last season, is the backup. Winston will likely have to air it out and will have one less weapon available with Michael Thomas sidelined due to an ankle injury. That means the likes of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey will have to pick up the slack. On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints’ leading pass rusher from last season Try Hendrickson (13.5 sacks) is in Cincinnati. They will have to find a way to generate a pass rush to contain Rodgers or rely on a tough run defense that allowed just 94 yards per game last year.

Looking at the Packers to win, the Aaron Rodgers is still under center and the Saints aren’t playing in the friendly confines of the Superdome. Rodgers has a slew of weapons to work with and a formidable running game led by Aaron Jones. Despite a great all-purpose back in Alvin Kamara, with Michael Thomas out for the Saints, they won’t have the firepower to keep pace.

To see how the Saints could win, they must rely on a defense that was among the best in the NFL last season. They will need to keep the Packers offense under control. In addition, the offensive line is solid enough to provide time for Winston, limiting potential costly interceptions.

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Ed Rooney

Just a guy with too much free time trying to help out.

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15 Comments

  1. PF4L September 11, 2021

    Kamal Martin’s career continues as he’s been signed to the Panthers practice squad.
    ********************
    You made some good points Ed.
    Especially about Winston…
    To be clear, i like Winston about as much as i like Cam Newton. But one thing about Winston, when he isn’t disrupted he can throw some high speed ropes. His arm isn’t the problem, it’s in between the ears.
    We’ll have to see, but i thinking working with Sean Payton and having a decent O line might be exactly what Winston needs to cut down on his interceptions.
    .
    I have 2 concerns…..
    .
    1) Is the O line. Two rookies starting. The possible good news is that the interior of the Saints D line is considered weak right now.
    .
    I understand everyone loves themselves some Elton Jenkins. Include me in that.
    But…He has a total of 29 snaps at Left tackle.
    If ya’ll can remember, it was Billy Turner at left tackle against the Bucs in the NFCCG. Which makes me wonder, what’s different now from then? Why wasn’t Jenkins playing LT in that game?
    .
    It’s been said Jenkins is a 5 position player. I’m not comparing Barclay to Jenkins, but that reminds me back when they were saying Don Barclay could play all the positions. Barclay hasn’t played since he played 11 snaps in 2017 when he was 28 years old (his prime). In other words…just because you may have taken a handful of snaps at LT and center, that alone doesn’t make you great at them. You need a larger body of work to achieve that status.
    Again…no dig on Jenkins…just saying, larger body of work needed.

    As a football fan, for as long as i’ve been one. I’m not so sure i’ve ever even seen a valid 5 position player on the O line…ever.
    But hey…i guess i could be wrong.
    The other thing besides the two rookies, is the fact that only one of the lineman right now (Turner) are playing in their original position.
    .
    All told…the reason why this concerns me so much is how this can alter the running and passing game success. See K.C. Chiefs.
    *********************
    2) Defense
    Usually…defenses need time to grow under a new coordinator.
    The Packers gave up 23.1 PPG last season as Ed stated. What is our expectation this season…under 20?
    It’s true that a first year Def. Coordinator can make a huge improvement his first season.
    But it’s rare, unless you were around when Capers replaced Bob Sanders.
    Capers inherited a defense that gave up 23.8 PPG. In Capers first season, he reduced that number to 18.6 PPG
    In Capers 2nd season (SB season), that number went down further to 15 PPG.
    8.8 PPG reduction in two years. Damn impressive if you ask me.
    Although Capers was kept on way too long, he damn well got the job done when he joined the Packers.
    .
    We’ll see how this rolls out with Barry at the helm.
    .
    Between these two concerns of mine…don’t think for a minute there won’t be any growing pains.
    .
    But regardless…i still take the Packers here because…….Rodgers.

    Reply
  2. PF4L September 11, 2021

    For the love of almighty God….
    .
    It seems like educating Tommy is a never ending life long punishment.
    How can someone be so wrong, so many times?
    .
    Fine!…here we go again…smh.
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    Tom M September 11, 2021
    “Our current kicker is on his third team in 12 months.” – Princess
    .
    Excuse me Tommy, class is in session (listen, and learn please)……
    .
    Tommy…..listen closely, (for the love of God) listen closely….our current kicker is a man named Mason Crosby.
    He’s been with us (the Packers) for jeez, i don’t know, some 14 years?
    .
    Hint: Tommy, if your not sure in the future what player plays what position. You can just google that player, look at the teams roster, maybe phone a friend if you have one.
    .
    Tom M…..i don’t mind helping for free, but my generosity has a limit. How long do i have to keep on educating you?
    If this continues as it has, i’m going to require a $1,000 retainer (minimum). You got Paypal?
    ***************
    So remember….and more importantly retain this information.
    1) Mason Crosby has been our kicker for 14 years.
    .
    2) Mark Murphy was never (EVER) a NFLPA attorney.
    .
    3) The Packers will not “cut” Z Smith after the season. Maybe trade him, but not cut him as you profess.
    .
    4) Z. Smith is not a free agent after this season as you stated..
    ***************
    I could give you more examples…but lets not push the envelope of what you can absorb in one session.
    .
    K.I.S.S….Keep It Simple Stupid.
    .
    Again…You’re welcome

    Reply
    1. Tom M September 11, 2021

      I was referencing JK Scott who was a punter. I’m sorry you missed the correlation. Sometimes I forget your special needs. Z Smith will be cut next offseason because he has no trade value. None. You can take that to the bank baby cakes. Just like when I said Kurt Benkert would be cut and Rashan Gary will start. Smith will be 29 with a back injury and a contract no one will want. Everyone knows we’re over the cap. He’ll receive interest on the open market at a reduced rate. He’ll be cut in favor of Gary who at this point is at least as good a player and for a fraction of the cost. Just like Rodgers will be traded and Love will start. It called draft and develop. A concept you have difficulty understanding.

      This is a game we should win going away. With the exception of Kamara, Jameis Winston will have little help on offense. I’m not sold on Winston myself. He leaves Tampa Bay and Brady wins the SB. This could be the start of a very long season in New Orleans. My biggest concern is the heat. Look for LaFleur to run the ball with Dillion. Especially in the second half. Finally, the last dance begins…

      Reply
      1. PF4L September 11, 2021

        Mark Murphy?…C’mon Princess…spin that one…give it a shot! :)
        ******************************
        “Z Smith will be cut next offseason because he has no trade value. None. You can take that to the bank baby cakes.” – Princess
        .
        So you can trade Josh Jackson for a player, but Z Smith has no value on the trade market?
        GOTCHYA!!….lol
        What will Rodgers bring, a conditional 6th round pick?…lol
        .
        Thank you for bringing us more bank talk Princess? Like this gem…..
        .
        “Tom M July 11, 2021
        As far as Rashan Gary. He’ll start opposite Za’Darious Smith. You can take that to the bank sweetheart….”
        .
        Now Princess….try to remember…who the punter is, and who the kicker is, ok Pappy?
        Mason Crosby is our kicker…..
        Ok…now you say it
        .
        Tom M September 11, 2021
        Our current kicker is on his third team in 12 months.
        .
        Atta boy….always keep em laughing Tommy!! :)

        Reply
        1. PF4L September 11, 2021

          Princess…is this the same Z Smith you claim as no trade value?
          .
          Tom M September 7, 2021
          TJ Watt or Z Smith? I see no real difference. Both very good and both got paid.

          Reply
          1. Tom M September 12, 2021

            You do understand in order to punt the football you have to kick it, right? Everyone got that but you. Here’s another concept you struggle with. When a player becomes a cap casualty and is released he becomes a FA regardless of his contract. Now, you say Z Smith will be traded. I say his contract prohibits a trade and he’ll be cut. We’ll revisit this in the offseason and see who’s correct just like we revisited Kurt Benkert after training camp. When I said he’d be cut and you said we’d keep 3QB’s. Another concept you struggle with is the 53 vs the practice squad. You seem to think they’re one in the same. I’m also going on record saying we trade your girlfriend in the offseason. You want in on that one to? You want to proclaim a contract extension? You seem to think team “captains” have some deep philosophical meaning. I say they’re voted on by players and are more popularity contests than anything else. Now, let’s get on with some real football and get this “last dance” over with.

            Reply
          2. PF4L September 12, 2021

            “When a player becomes a cap casualty and is released he becomes a FA regardless of his contract.” – Tommy
            .
            NOOOO!!…REALLY?….Gee..i was way, way wrong on that one. See….i thought then they got sent to the CFL. But hey, thanks for helping me out, you are quite the mentor.
            .
            Are you sure Rodgers is even worth anything on the trade market?
            ***********************************
            “You seem to think team “captains” have some deep philosophical meaning. I say they’re voted on by players and are more popularity contests than anything else.” – Tommy
            .
            Well, i’m not going to 2nd guess you my friend when you want to rehash tired material.
            I’m sure you’ve been at NFL training camps and in team meetings, and in the locker room.
            So you probably know best.
            .
            Listen…don’t be a stranger, i never want to miss a chance of being enlightened.
            I’m like a sponge sweet cheeks, and you can take that to the bank!

            Reply
  3. Mick September 11, 2021

    Jenkins at LG is a stud. You’re right about having concerns on the OL with the 2 rookies and Jenkins moving out to LT. In Jenkins case, we need to see more of his play at LT, and it’s a big concern that one of the rookies is the center. I’m more concerned about the center position and there will be mistakes made, just hoping they don’t come at the wrong time. As it is right now, Jenkins is the best option to play LT. As for the defense, let’s see if Joe Barry has an answer for at least limiting A. Kamara. With their best receiver out, (Thomas); the Saints will rely heavily on Kamara and we all know he ran circles around our D last year. Joe Barry believes in having a strong front seven;;;;;; We’ll see how long it takes for them to mature, I still have questions about the ILB position. They say Barrys’ strong point is scheming LBs, let’s hope Barnes and Campbell are the answer at ILB.

    Reply
    1. PF4L September 11, 2021

      Yep…Good post Mick
      .
      Thomas has something wrong in between the ears. He’s a great talent, but……
      .
      Kind of like Antonio Brown a couple years ago.
      Though he seems to be coming out of it.
      After A B re-upped with the Bucs for another year, i predicted he was going to be the bargain of the year. You could see him coming on late last season.

      Reply
  4. Deepsky September 11, 2021

    Three things worry me about this game:

    First, the offensive line has been shuffled. The Packers are starting two rookies on the offensive line. That’s not at all good, especially considering the Saints have a good pass rush, better than the Green Bay pass rush. The last time the Packers started two rookies on the offensive line, they ended up 8-8 for the season. Second, a completely new defense means lots of confusion and broken coverage, and Winston can sling the ball unlike Brees. I expect a few big plays by the Saints. Finally, this Packers team never plays well in the heat, especially Rodgers, who has a lifetime passer rating of 78 in Florida.

    Reply
    1. PF4L September 12, 2021

      A little perspective and respect for Bree’s….
      .
      Winston does have a cannon arm, but that is the one and only thing he has over Bree’s.
      Lets also remember, we’re comparing a 27 year old against a 42 year old.
      .
      Winston did throw for 5,000 yards in 2019…very respectable.
      Bree’s has thrown for over 5,000 yards, 5 times.
      .
      That’s not mentioning Bree’s completion percentage, int/td ratio, intelligence, accomplishments, 10 years of passer rating over 100, he’s a first ballet HOF’er, and you could make the argument that he’s in the conversation as one of the best NFL QB’s….ever.
      *****************
      As far as the game….
      .
      The way i see it, the only way the Packers lose is a melt down on the O line.
      Not saying that will happen, it probably won’t.
      What i am saying is we haven’t seen this O line perform in a NFL game.
      Two of the players haven’t performed at all in a NFL game.
      .
      Some people have said the Packers offense will be even better than last season. But i think the O line will have something to say (or prove) concerning that.
      .
      This makes me nervous and will continue to do so until Bakhtiari is back and Jenkins goes back to LG….i can’t help it :)

      Reply
  5. Mick September 12, 2021

    Good points Deep! That Florida heat along with the stifling humidity is brutal. After one training camp session they asked T. J. Slaton how he felt after practice when it was 90 degrees with 69 % humidity. His response was; “Ah man, this isn’t bad! Remember I come from central Florida where during the summer, it’s common for temps to be in the upper 90s’ with humidity in the upper 80s; and thunderstorms daily, keeping the humidity high, Man, it saps all of your energy, quickly.”

    Reply
  6. PF4L September 12, 2021

    Erin Andrews: What do you want Aaron?
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    Aaron Rodgers: I want to be happy.
    .
    Can you believe that shit?
    The nerve of Rodgers, who does he think he is?

    Reply
  7. Mitch Anthony September 12, 2021

    Grade is in on early season test.

    F = Failed

    Except for those Special Teams. Mason put up some points and that new punter is a keeper.

    Reply
  8. NobodysBurfect September 12, 2021

    Yo I think comments on Eliot’s very fitting write up are fucked up – luckily I got one off.

    Reply

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