“Last Time?”

NFC Game Of The Week

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints

Packers: Another year and they’re 2-0. My biggest takeaway of the Green Bay Packers is I see an offense that looks more comfortable within the scheme. The Packers struggled to get into a rhythm offensively in 2019. A year later, I see a group more in sync with one another. Aaron Rodgers has looked like himself again. Speaking of people named Aaron, Let’s talk about Aaron Jones. He’s emerged as their best player early on. Honestly, he’s made their entire offense go. Not only is he a threat out the backfield on handoffs, but he’s also another receiver at Rodgers’ disposal. In 2019, their defense was much improved. I know it’s early now, but I don’t like what I’ve seen from them so far. They’ve reverted to their old ways again. Giving up big plays down the field. Now, it’s time for week three. A showdown in New Orleans on Sunday night.

Saints: Monday night was the worst I’ve seen them play since the playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings in January. Coming into the game, I said the Saints would still be able to move the ball down the field even without Michael Thomas. This is where Emmanuel Sanders’ signing would factor into the conversation. Drew Brees himself said the Saints offense isn’t where they need to be. I’m not writing them off at all because this team can go and win their next six games. I like what I saw from their defense in week one against Tampa. On Monday, they regressed. I saw lots of missed gap assignments, a lack of a pass rush unless they blitzed and so many missed tackles in the open field. When this defense wants to stand out, they can. I sometimes feel they don’t care about the fundamentals of the game. They’re a much better team than what they displayed. It’s time to turn the page. They return home for week three.

Packers X-Factor: Za’Darius Smith– He’s more than your typical pass rusher. He can drop back as a spy in coverage. That’s what I expect to see from him on Sunday night. Confuse Brees, limit Kamara’s productivity underneath, and help punch the Saints offensive front in the mouth. I like his role for this Packers defense when they’re clicking.

Saints X-Factor: Jared Cook– Next to Mike and Emmanuel in the passing game down the field, this is Drew’s other favorite target. Sean Payton is so innovative because he uses Jared in so many ways. He can line him up in the slot or wide as a receiver. Jared has found new life in New Orleans. If Mike doesn’t play in this game and Brees wants to take a shot down the field, this is the guy to target other than Sanders or Smith.

Final Thoughts: We have a legendary quarterback battle here with Aaron and Drew. The gameplan for the Packers is simple. Frustrate the Saints’ defensive line and get their secondary running all over the place. The issue I have with the Saints is they get too cute with their play-calling. I’m using a healthy dose of Kamara and Murray to counterattack the Packers. Especially Kamara who’s able to impact the game in more ways than one.

Prediction: Saints 30 Packers 24

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