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Why the Packers Will Beat the Saints and Why They Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat the Saints and Why They Might Not

The Green Bay Packers may be without Aaron Rodgers for at least the next eight weeks, but they are not without hope, especially if they can find a way to beat New Orleans at Lambeau Field Sunday.

The task is going to be difficult. Green Bay has Brett Hundley making his first career start, while the Saints will have Drew Brees, one of the best quarterbacks in the league. For New Orleans (3-3), it’s also an important game.

The Saints are right in the thick of the playoff hunt, a win would tie them with the Packers and give them the tiebreaker. A loss would put Green Bay two games in front of them. So you can see how much the result could matter to both teams down the road.

For the Packers, it’s a difference between 5-2 and 4-3. That’s huge. At 5-2, the Packers would be tied for first in the North with a bye week next week. They could get healthy, and even if they just played .500 football, they would be 8-5 when Rodgers is eligible to return (Dec. 17 vs Carolina).

Hundley was bad against Minnesota. But he won’t be that poor this week. For one, he’s a better player than that and two, he has had the entire week to prepare as the starter. Don’t forget, this could be his one chance at NFL stardom, so he has all the motivation in the world to play well.

With an improved Hundley and a healthier offensive line, the Packers have a good chance to win the game and here are a few reasons why:

For starters, Hundley is going to be more productive. He has spent the last three years learning under Rodgers and it looks to have paid off. When he has played in the preseason, he has been impressive, but he has also looked comfortable running the offense. He seems to know the system. 

Don’t forget either, the Saints are not the Vikings. Green Bay is also going to have its two starting tackles. Without Rodgers and without its top two pass protectors, the Green Bay offense fell apart. That shouldn’t happen against the Saints.

Head coach Mike McCarthy will put Hundley in a position to succeed. Hopefully, he won’t play it safe, because with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, he shouldn’t, ever.

The Packers can move the ball against the Saints, who have the No. 26 pass defense. New Orleans also isn’t great against the run (11th in yards, 22 in yards per attempt) and is 21st in points allowed.

With Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery both healthy, Green Bay should be able to pound the rock and if so, that will be a key factor. That will help keep the New Orleans pass rush at bay and at the same time, keeping the offense in manageable situations. Make no mistake, the run game needs to succeed. 

On the other side of the ball, the defense will need to make some plays. It forced two turnovers a week ago, but Brees has just two interceptions all season, so forcing turnovers won’t be easy.

But the defense has been playing better and while it may not be able to completely shutout Brees, it should be able to contain him enough to give Hundley a chance to win the game.

Nick Perry’s ability to play will be significant, but it looks like Kevin King is a go, along with the rest of the key guys except for Morgan Burnett. When the defense is healthy, it has been effective, which should be the case Sunday. 

Why the Packers May Lose:

A better day from Hundley, a weaker opponent and a healthier team on both sides of the ball are reasons why Green Bay can beat New Orleans, but Brees is the biggest reason why the Packers could lose.

Elite quarterbacks matter in the NFL. Everyone knows that. At the end of the day, it might be the difference between the two teams Sunday. Across the board, the Packers appear to be more talented, but quarterbacks can make that up, especially good ones and there’s no doubt, with Brees, New Orleans has the edge.

If the Green Bay pass rush can get to Brees and force him into a mistake or two, the Packers will have a chance. But if he has a big day, the Saints will probably be victorious.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

If the Packers OT's are both playing then both Kendricks and Bennett should be freed up to run routes and catch passes. I think Kendricks will catch his, but will Bennett finally start to catch his? After watching Thursday Nights Raiders game I actually MISSED Jared Cook for the first time this season. Hundley will need his TE's today and in the weeks to follow. It's time for Bennett to EARN that $7 million he's getting this year.

McCarthy is going to use both Monty and Jones. Which ever shows the hot hand first STICK with that RB. I like Montgomery but dammit if Jones is ripping off 5, 6, 7 yard runs you STAY with him. One of those guys needs to be effective.

If Bennett starts to earn his $7 million then Perry needs to start and justify his $60 million contract. I noticed last week the club was much, much smaller. Perry HAS to be effective because frankly the Packers don't have anyone else, not right now anyways. Matthews has played well but who else?

Brooks has played in all 16 games in 5 of his last 6 seasons and 14 in the one he didn't play all 16. The second he comes to GB he's missing games. WTF!!!!

EdsLaces's picture

I missed Cook as well , and I know the Brooks thing is frustrating too.

croatpackfan's picture

I would like to see Devante Mays to carry the ball, especially if the rain will be at the time of the game... Mays is the fastest RB on the roster, and he is smasher who will punch his way to the light...

EdsLaces's picture

It's hard to even imagine how much pressure Hundley has on him. First ever NFL start for a historic franchise like the Pack. Replacing arguably the greatest qb to ever play the game. For all the people saying they have more faith in Hundley than in the defense...cmon now. If he throws less than 2 ints and gets sacked less than 3 times I'll be shocked/delighted.

4zone's picture

A bit like AR for his first start replacing the other Brett.

fastmoving's picture

The good thing is that Hundley does not have much pressure at all, a lot of guys dont expect much out of him anyway.
Im sure he will keep us in the race till 12 is back. and all the drama queens here will left wondering, like they do much moore often than not.

Nick Perry's picture

Not much pressure? The guy is auditioning for 31 other teams right now hoping he plays well enough so one of the QB needy NFL teams without a decent starting QB might call and work a trade for him. He does well right now, in these next few games he's set for life! I mean look at the Bears. The Texans. If Glennon was worth $45 million or Oswiller was worth $70 million what might Hundley be worth if he plays even average?

Nope...No pressure at all.

EdsLaces's picture

Right? And in front of a packed lambeau field. A field that the second you walk on you get chills. And you look around and see names like Nitchke Starr Favre Lombardi on the wall....yeah no big deal lol.

Jonathan Spader's picture

With Bart Starr at Lambeau...

Lphill's picture

Hundley will be fine , playing at home and plenty of weapons at his disposal, let's hope the Packers defense can help him out.

Qoojo's picture

Last 5 games against packers, the saints have scored 34, 51, 34, 27, and 44. That's a 38 point average. So with that knowledge,

The packers win if they suddenly find a defense, or Hundley and the run game perform way beyond expectations.

Chris Peterson's picture

A couple of those games were in the dome. This Packers defense is also better in my opinion. I think the Saints will score, but Green Bay can score with them. I expect a solid day from Hundley. I think Green Bay is going to have a tough time winning, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Qoojo's picture

Yep, the two highest I think were in the dome which plays faster. But that still gives about a 32 point average, which I think is asking a lot of Hundley for his first start, and the OL has to play better than any game so far this year. The defense has to force some punts. I would say at least 4-5 punts for the packers to have a chance.

flackcatcher's picture

Whole game hinges on the O line. Secondary's problem is mostly inexperience. The injuries to House and Burnett really showed up last week. New Orleans is a weird team. At home they are smart fast and disciplined. On the road, they play like the keystone cops for long periods during the game. Can this Packer team stay upright enough to win, that the real question.

Since '61's picture

I hope that the Packers play Josh Jones in this game. he can make a difference on defense. There is little tape on him and he could be effective rushing Brees and forcing him to move or throw on the run. Brees is not as mobile as he once was. J. Jones speed could get after him and make some sacks or force a few hurried throws and maybe create a turn over or two. We need to keep Brees off the field as long as possible. Josh Jones could be an X factor for the Packers in this game. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

Jonathan Spader's picture

We talk about the game being improved with the return of our OTs. They were in the game where Aaron got injured as well last week. Just because they're back in the game doesn't mean that they're at 100% or can stay healthy throughout the game. I'm hoping for the best but not banking our success just on their performance.

billybobton's picture

BH "WILL" be better........great conclusion and pretty safe if kind of meaningless

no MN defense, a sad defense coming to LField especially compared to the queens

nonetheless better hedge because you are not good at seeing what on the field

try BH "MIGHT" "BETTER" or anything to allow you to be accurate and avoid stating that you don't have a clue what you are writing about

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