Packers XLV

No Gumbo, No Beignets, But 'Hungry' Packers Should Roll Sunday.

Posted September 10th, 2021 @ 09:09pm

Davante Adams said this week that this is the hungriest Packer team he's been a part of. It also might be the last Packer team he'll be a part of, but we'll save that for, and worry about that another time. They're hungry because they came so close in 2020 and appear to be locked and loaded to contend once again in the NFC, knowing that for a good chunk of the roster may be playing elsewhere in 2022.

It all starts in Jacksonville, a site hand-picked by Sean Payton, who figured Packer fans would have a tougher time traveling there, would struggle in the hot, humid conditions and, oh by the way, Aaron Rodgers is 3-4 in the state of Florida. Let's unpack that last point for a minute: three of Rodgers four losses in the Sunshine State came in 2008 and 2009. He's 3-1 since; the one loss coming last season in Tampa. I don't think he's shaking in his boots. But the muggy weather won't do either team any favors, that's for sure.

The biggest question mark for the Pack revolves around the offensive line, which will see four new players in new places to start the season. Elgton Jenkins will be tasked with holding down the left tackle spot, probably until the Chiefs game in early October. Nothing we've seen from Jenkins should give us cause for concern that he's not up to the challenge. The question marks come on the inside, where last year's right guard Lucas Patrick moves to the left side and is joint on the interior with a pair of rookies, Josh Myers at center and Royce Newman at right guard. Billy Turner is the lone holdover on the line in his usual spot, right tackle.

The strength of the Saints defense is the front seven, and the Pack's line will have its hands full with pass rushers Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport. You can bet Matt LaFleur will protect the line with a lot of pre-snap movement, mis-direction and a heavy dose of play action, if Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon find running room early. Aaron Rodgers will see matchups he likes on the back end. Starting corner Ken Crawley will miss the game and top corner Marshon Lattimore will play, but missed practice time this week. The Saints recently traded for former Texans starter Bradley Roby, but he won't play this week. Their depth at corner is not strong right now.

With a grand total of preseason snaps, the Pack's offense will get unwrapped for the first time and we'll finally get to see what wrinkles LaFleur has added with the return of Randall Cobb and Josiah Deguara and the addition of Amari Rodgers. It might take a series or two, but the offense should find its stride early. Yes, the humid weather will be a factor, but playing outdoors on a neutral field (likely with more Packer fans than Saints fans) and not in the noisy Superdome is a huge break--especially for Myers, who won't have to deal with a silent count and will be tasked with snapping the ball precisely when Rodgers wants it snapped. There will be a learning curve to snap for #12; let's hope it's a short one.

This new look Saints team has ten new starters, none more important than at QB, as Jameis Winston replaces the legendary Drew Brees. The Pack's new defense, led by Joe Barry, tries to take away explosive plays and force offenses to be patient and dink and dunk. That said, Winston loves to throw the deep ball and is bound to take a few chances--his penchant for turnovers spelled his exit from Tampa.

Winston's receivers are another story. Their top two, Michael Thomas and Tre'Quan Smith are out. That leaves Marquez Callaway (who impresses in the preseason) and Deonte Harris as the starters. Look for Jaire Alexander to shadow Callaway and see if anyone else can make plays. Winston's top target figures to be running back Alvin Kamara, who gashed the Pack for nearly 200 yards last season, the vast majority coming through the air. That's priority #1 for the defense. Let anyone else beat you. The biggest concern is the health of Za'Darius Smith, who's been called a game time decision. My guess is they hold him out of this one, with an extra day of rest coming next week.

Special teams is a wild card, but the Saints top kicker, Will Lutz, will miss the start of the season. This will be our first look at new punter Corey Bojorquez, who'll also serve as Mason Crosby's new holder. Add in the fact that Hunter Bradley is on a short least as the long snapper and new ST coach Maurice Drayton is making his debut, and special teams could be interesting on Sunday.

The Packers catch a break getting the Saints early and on a neutral field. It adds up to an opening week win.

Packers 31   Saints 24

 

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Comments (7):

The Packers caught a break by the hurricane moving this one to Jacksonville. The Saints won't have their "12th Man" of 80,000 screaming Who-Dats to distract and disrupt the visiting team. Outdoors on natural grass puts the Pack more in their element and with Green Bay fans known for their strong travel for the team the crowd in the stands should be around 50/50 at worst. I expect this game to be much like last year's meeting, won by the Packers 37-30 in a nearly empty Superdome. It'll be close late into the 4th qtr, with lead changes throughout but in the end the Aaron Rodgers' difference prevails. Because of the new expanded and unbalanced schedule the Packers have one more road game than home games this season. Win this one and it's back to 8 & 8 home and away the rest of the way besides claiming an important strategic win in the conference over a fellow title competitor.

on September 11th, 2021 at 05:27am

Go Packers Go!!Im interested in the Defense

on September 12th, 2021 at 03:03pm

What a flipping mess! Seriously, what a mess.

on September 12th, 2021 at 05:45pm

Fifteen years ago the Packers could have hired Sean Payton as their coach but went with Mike McCarthy instead. Most of the history since has been "a wash" but today should have us asking ,"What if..." Maybe Payton and the Packers together would have more than just 1 Super Bowl each. Like they let Andy Reid get away from them in 1999. Choosing Dan Devine over Joe Paterno in 1971. Failing to make the bold move for Don Shula over Phil Bengtson in 1970. Even pursing Forrest Evashevski before stumbling into Vince Lombardi in 1959. Remove the chairs at 1265 Lombardi Avenue this week: The Packers' asses should be too sore to sit on them.

on September 12th, 2021 at 06:13pm

As I said on Packer Preview the concern I had was lack of preseason snaps for the starters. Game speed is totally different from practice. non care preseason games with no concern for outcomes led to this fourth exhibition game . Pack will be fine but LaFluer may want to rethink his future preparation approaches. GO PACK GO !!

on September 12th, 2021 at 09:22pm

Vikings game also,What a flipping mess! Seriously what a mess!

on September 13th, 2021 at 09:37am

It's hilarious reading this now. The delusion jumps off the page.

on September 14th, 2021 at 03:21pm

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