The Lass Word: Pack May Be In For Another Track Meet With Saints

Offense figures to rule in season opener.

Buckle your seat belt, put on your crash helmet and find something stable to hold on to, because Sunday’s season opener between the Packers and the Saints looks like another wide open barn burner.   

 

In week three of last year, these two teams raced up and down the field all day long, the Packers emerging with a thrilling 37 to 30 victory.   Saints running back Alvin Kamara was an unstoppable force, averaging over nine yards per carry, and grabbing 13 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.  One of them was a 52 yarder during which Kamara broke five tackles.  Drew Brees threw for 288 yards and three scores. 

 

The Packers had to play that game without Davante Adams, but Allen Lazard broke out with 6 catches for 146 yards and a score, and Aaron Rodgers chipped in 283 passing yards and three touchdowns. 

 

Many of the names and faces have changed, especially on the New Orleans side, but the elements are there for the same kind of track meet.  It’s fun to watch, if your heart can take it. 

 

Drew Brees is gone, replaced by the talented but undisciplined gunslinger Jameis Winston.  Underestimate him at your own peril.  He is just one year removed from throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 33 scores in Tampa Bay in 2019.  His whopping 30 interceptions got him a ticket out of town, but make no mistake, Winston has a canon arm and decent mobility.  If offensive guru Sean Payton can get him to play under control, he will be tough to handle.  You could even make the argument that Winston is an upgrade over the deteriorating Brees of recent seasons. Kamara is back.  The receivers are young and will be missing Michael Thomas who starts the year on injured reserve, but second year player Marquez Calloway looks like a budding star.  The Saints return one of the best tackle tandems in the league in Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. 

 

They will be playing against a Green Bay defense that will be adjusting to a new system, and may be without star pass rusher Za’darius Smith who is being brought back gradually with back problems. 

 

The Packers, meanwhile, welcome back nine of eleven starters to the number one offense in the league, and maybe the universe.  The returning starters include all of the skill position players and, if anything, the offense should be even better with the addition of potential weapons like Josiah Deguara, Amari Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Kylin Hill.  Oh, and by the way, Davante Adams will be playing this time.  

 

They will face a Saints defense missing several key pieces from last season, including Trey Hendrickson and his 13.5 sacks, Sheldon Rankins, Janoris Jenkins and Alex Anzalone.  All were victims of the league-leading salary cap crunch New Orleans had to fight through in the offseason. 

 

The game is in Jacksonville, which should mitigate the incredible noise volume generated by New Orleans fans in the Superdome.  In fact, some speculate that Packer fans, who travel well, may even outnumber the New Orleans faithful.  Florida is home to one of the largest Packer fan bases outside of Wisconsin in the country. 

 

It all adds up to an offensive showdown.  In the end, Green Bay’s defense will come up with just enough plays to make the difference.  I’ll take the Packers by a score of 38 to 28. 

 

 

Emotion in motion?

Player for player, Green Bay has a definite talent advantage in this game, but the Saints may have a motivational factor going for them that is being overlooked.  The city of New Orleans has once again been devastated by a hurricane, as Ida rampaged through the city, leveling buildings and putting half a million people without power.  In 2005, Hurricane Katrina similarly ravaged the area.  In the midst of all the hardship, the people rallied around the football team as a symbol of overcoming adversity.  The Saints responded by going from 3-13 in 2005, to 10-6 and winning the division in 2006, eventually winning a Super Bowl in 2009.  Could the same emotional force sweep through the team this year? 

 

 

Gone But Not Forgotten

There are a few familiar former Packers on the opening day roster for the Saints.   RB/WR Ty Montgomery landed in New Orleans after stops in Baltimore and the New York Jets.  Defensive lineman Montravious Adams was picked up by NO after the Packers gave up on him and let him walk.  Many Packer fans were a bit surprised when the team traded defensive back Kadar Hollman.  He signed with the Saints and made the team.  And then, of course, there is Taysom Hill, the quarterback who got away from the Packers when they tried to sneak him through waivers in 2017.  He lost the battle to be the starting signal caller to Winston, but remains a versatile weapon for Sean Payton.    

 

   

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (23)

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ImaPayne's picture

September 09, 2021 at 03:17 pm

Packers dont have the speed on defense to keep up with the Orleans quick running backs and tall receivers. I hope like hell a doofus like Jameis makes mokery or the pass defense and we can all get on board then that Gutt did nothing to improve it and its going to be a fn long season.
O lines dont win Suber bowls and teams do indeed need to be able to get off the field on three and outs once in a while.

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packer132's picture

September 09, 2021 at 06:24 pm

Lets see what you think about the Packers on Monday.

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MainePackFan's picture

September 09, 2021 at 07:16 pm

Just a suggestion, but you may want to take a second and proofread what you write before hitting the submit.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 09, 2021 at 08:33 pm

Drunk posting, I think.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 10, 2021 at 05:52 am

more likely talk to text.

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Todd's picture

September 09, 2021 at 10:14 pm

All right, come on now. While there may be some truth re: the Packers’ defense struggling with New Orleans’ offense particularly since it’s the first game of the year, but to say O-lines don’t win Super Bowls? Did you see what happened in February? Chiefs may have had a chance if their O-line wasn’t so beat up while Tampa’s O-line was dominating the Chief’s defense.

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dobber's picture

September 10, 2021 at 07:34 am

Saints have a really good OL. Packers will struggle to pressure Winston on a regular basis without sending extra guys.

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CoachDino's picture

September 09, 2021 at 04:19 pm

Good point on Winston. He is capable of great things, his issue is just that he is capable of just as bad as well. You just never know which one you will get more of.

Once again really overlooking the OL issue with the 9 of 11 starters statement, which is actually 8 of 11 (DA and lang should be counted by the same criteria) but the real point being only 1 in 5 OL playing in the same position and 40% not even in the NFL last year (rookies).

Kadar was cut from Texas as well but then picked up by NO couple weeks before they play the packers...hmmm
Montravious was signed last year by NE after the Packers cut him. He was cut by NE and landed in NO this year
Turns out the Hill cut was right as he flopped as the NO QB, was replaced by a back-up in Winston even though Hill has a large contract.
Ty Montgomery has bounced around after being cut for his ST fiasco and ensuing comments.

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Gee's picture

September 09, 2021 at 04:23 pm

Haven't played a snap yet, give the defense a chance. After Kamara the other offence weapons don't scare anyone. Their number 1 receiver will be blanketed by Alexander, so he will be non factor. We haven't seen Barry call a game yet as DC here, maybe he dials pressure up, maybe double Kamara and lets the rest of their O try to beat the GB D. I have no idea, but let's give coach a chance. As you say Jameis has been known to keep both teams in the game, so ket's just see what he's like in his first start in 2 years. I expected the D to come out fired up.

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pacman's picture

September 09, 2021 at 04:27 pm

New D coach, many starters didn't play in preseason on D or O. I was surprised they didn't at least play a little in the last game.
Fear is Packers will be out of sync. I hope MLF proves me wrong.

GPG!

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LeotisHarris's picture

September 09, 2021 at 04:50 pm

I wasn't surprised when the Texans cut Ka'Dar Hollman after the Packers traded him. It's as if Bill O'Brien never left Houston.

I'll betcha Montravius Adams brings Jerel Worthy-like "juice" to the Saints D.

My crystal ball doesn't foresee any Benson Boogie in waning seconds, monster Tom Dempsey field goals, or heroics from Archie Manning either. It's 2021. Who Dat? Not these guys. They ain't what they used to was.

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Lphill's picture

September 09, 2021 at 06:18 pm

Packers ranked 3 rd and Saints ranked 16 th in the league but it will be a close game?

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canadapacker's picture

September 09, 2021 at 08:30 pm

The defense just needs to do 2 things - firstly not let anybody just run free and secondly - TACKLE - not whiff not bounce off - Just TACKLE. Just like you were taught in high school - not at training camp because obviously our D coaches dont seem to know how to teach that ( from the last few years experience).

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 10, 2021 at 10:28 pm

no will redmond. or kamal martin. two of the biggest wiffers from last year. savage and amos in the first half of the year were missing tackles as well, and they turned it around to be arguably one of the best duos in the league back there. kevin king is still there. they will try and run screens to kamara right at him with crackbacks on the OLBS and Ilbs leaving king one on one in the open field. i bet by 2nd down they run a crackback right at him.. we will see what happens and if he fucks up in comes stokes.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 09, 2021 at 08:58 pm

This team is going as far as the offense takes us. You’ve got a group of skill position players who have had many games and practices together and they’re looking for a title. There’s no reason that our offensive veterans shouldn’t be able to get the job done.

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Bure9620's picture

September 09, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Yeah, they simply need the defense to be top half of the league and Special teams to be competent.

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Johnblood27's picture

September 10, 2021 at 05:56 am

could be tall orders... just sayin, the other teams get paid too and some of them have talented rosters.

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Thegravedigger's picture

September 10, 2021 at 10:34 pm

this defense is talented as well tho. kenny clark, the smiths and gary, both safetys, jaire, thats seven solid to great players. but yeah its going to be a very long season. this schedule is brutal. they have the lions twice and the bengals. Every single other game is going to be a hardfought battle. this saints game honestly is one of the easy "games", compared to the rest of the schedule. 11 and 6 would be a great season this year.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 09, 2021 at 09:17 pm

OMG. Your kicker is having a bad night. So you decide to go for a 60-yard FG while leaving TB time on the clock? MM. Geez. Not smart enough for AR to ever respect him. Good Lord.

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Difer's picture

September 10, 2021 at 06:24 am

Agreed as to McCarthy. That said, If the Packers play as well as either TB or Dallas, I would be delighted. Doubtful they will.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 09, 2021 at 10:14 pm

If that's how it plays out, I love our chances. If it's not, I love our chances.

GPG

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Johnblood27's picture

September 10, 2021 at 05:57 am

so, who you pickin?

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dobber's picture

September 10, 2021 at 07:49 am

"The Saints responded by going from 3-13 in 2005, to 10-6 and winning the division in 2006, eventually winning a Super Bowl in 2009. Could the same emotional force sweep through the team this year? "

I'm not sure what the correlation is here, because the year the Saints were displaced, they were 3-13 and really bad. The revelation came a year AFTER when they came back home, jettisoned Jim Haslett and replaced him with Sean Payton. They signed HOF QB Drew Brees and let scattershot Aaron Brooks go. They unearthed a really good WR in Marques Colston. They also brought in a little FA help. This was an 8-8 team two seasons running under Jim Haslett until the 3-13, Katrina year.

So the take home message is: the Packers are catching the Saints at the right time and we should hope they don't play the Saints in 2022?

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