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Key Battles, Week 7 Edition: New Orleans at Green Bay

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Key Battles, Week 7 Edition: New Orleans at Green Bay

The Brett Hundley era begins Sunday at Lambeau Field, which is cause for excitement for fans of a franchise with a little knack for quarterback prowess. Then again, other names come to mind: Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien, Seneca Wallace. There are good reasons to believe Hundley brings more to the table then the aforementioned, but he’s an unproven quantity. In addition, against a high-powered Saints offense, the pressure to deliver right away could be high for Hundley. 
 
Make no mistake, the Packers truest test Sunday will come in slowing down and disrupting New Orleans’ offense. Here are some of Sunday’s key battles: 
 

Protect Hundley from passing ‘D’ built on pressure, turnovers

The Saints defense in 2017 in some ways mirrors Green Bay defenses of the early Dom Capers years: A strong pass-rushing unit with a propensity for forcing turnovers. The stats thus indicate that the Saints can be passed on—they’ve allowed 268 yards a game, ranking 27th in the league—but those numbers are offset by a monster 436-yard effort by Tom Brady in Week 2. But the Saints have also forced 16 sacks and seven interceptions in just five games. (New Orleans had one of the league’s early byes, in Week 5.) 
 
Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari’s return is vital, seeing as the team’s interior lineman are dealing with their own shakeup as guard Lane Taylor (doubtful) and center Corey Linsley (questionable) are in limbo. The Packers know this and know that Hundley won’t be expected to extend plays the way Rodgers traditionally has, so anticipate a passing game built on quick throws and, hopefully, moving the pocket. 
 
The Packers must win the turnover battle. In their two losses, the Saints didn’t force a turnover. In their three wins, they’ve got nine. 
 

Getting run game off ground key on Sunday—and rest of way forward

The very offensive identity Green Bay struggled to find—arguably until the win over Dallas—the team must once again search for starting this week. The Cowboys game sticks out because it featured the emergence of Aaron Jones as a feature back, providing balance and opening up the Packers’ play action offense. Going forward, establishing a run won’t be merely a luxury—but a feature of the offense. That leaves Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery to carry the load, and they’ll have to do it against defenses undoubtedly paying closer attention to their efforts. 
 
After giving up 129, 119 and 132 yards on the ground in their first three weeks, the Saints have allowed a total of 124 yards total in their last two games. Keep in mind the last two games came against an anemic Dolphins offense and Detroit, after opening a huge early-game lead. 
 
Green Bay must get Jones and Montgomery going to help Hundley, to get the team through Sunday—and they’ll need to be productive the rest of the way out. 
 

Getting off the field on third downs

A year ago the Saints were tops in the league on third down, with a whopping conversion rate of 48.6. Last week they went a measly 2-for-17, a surprising stat in lieu of a 52-point outpouring. If Green Bay can’t get the Saints off the field and are forced to play from behind, thus losing the balance their offense is likely to cry out for, it tips the favor heavily in New Orleans’ favor. Drew Brees has traditionally shredded the Packers, and on Sunday he’ll face a unit injuries to two of their top three corners (House and Randall) and the absence of Morgan Burnett, the team’s defensive MVP through the first five games. With Quinten Rollins placed on injured reserve, the team’s depth is even shakier. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jonathan Spader's picture

" With Quinten Rollins placed on injured reserve, the team’s depth is even shakier."

Man Rollins has been a disappointment this year. A lot of fans are commenting on Randall but I had expectations for Rollins having a bounce back year this year and being better than Randall was. I was really disappointed with his play this season. Makes me wonder if he was injured and didn't say anything again or if he's just a bust.

Rob_S's picture

Coaching property, Coaching property, Coaching property.

If M.M. coaches Hudely to go for it, test his abilities and make big plays the packers could win and make the playoffs. M.M. needs to push Hudley to make the play. On the other hand if M.M. coaches Hudley like a greenhorn replacement.... The packers will definitely lose and likely miss the playoffs. The packers have nothing to lose with the remaining games of this year, unless M.M mothers him in his play calling. The choice is literately, "play to win and if not successful get a better draft pick", Or over manage Hudely win less, likely miss the playoffs.
So while we wait until next year....... Lets go for it !

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

What does this mean? Is Rob suggesting MM should just run the offense as if AR were playing?

Since '61's picture

Reynoldo - to me it means who is Hudely? Or maybe he doesn't know how to spell Hundley. In either case your question remains, "what does this mean? Thanks, Since '61

GBPDAN1's picture

Our chances of winning hing on House and Randell being able to go. They are both questionable. Brees is a future HOF QB.

I'm glad Bak and Bulaga are playing..... and King! Go Pack

Spock's picture

If Linsley can't go whoever is at center will have to make the line calls. Ouch. I foresee (I won't "see" as twice be damned Fox won't be showing the Packer game in AZ and I won't have the opportunity to stream it) a rolling pocket to cut the field in half for Hundley whose athleticism will make that possible. I like #7 and think he will do well. He's a gamer and the way he didn't give up against the Vikings bodes well for his future success. As always I will expect "my" Packers (I am a stockholder, LOL) to win. Glad King is back and both tackles (more worried about Bahk) starting should help a lot. I'd love to have A. Jones have another career day and would love the "other" Jones (Josh) to have a major impact as well. We will soon see. Glad the BYE week is next so this team can heal up some! Go Pack Go!!!!

dobber's picture

Key battle: Packers vs. the "party tent".

flackcatcher's picture

Depressingly accurate.

William Brauer's picture

Regardless of the injuries, the holdovers from last year haven't shown much on defense. We weren't going to go anywhere with the level of play being what it is, and after years of rebuild at that. Good Bye and good riddance to Ted T and Dom C. They have had years to put a defense together with little success

donnyanderson44's picture

The only question I have, with our corners hurt is how much of a brees is this game going to be for Drew. I think McCarhty should have rested the tackles and take the bye, 'cause we ain't winning this game, so why take the chance. Give the lad trial by fire and hope he survives, reconoiter and play healthier and more prepared 2 weeks down the stretch. I expect the worse but hope for the best.

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