Week 4: New Orleans Saints At Green Bay Packers
- QuarterbackThe Saints expect Drew Brees to light up the scoreboard most weeks. After a slow start, he was doing just that against the Kansas City Chiefs through the majority of the first three quarters when the Saints scored 24 points. However, the production stopped at that point as Brees could no longer solve the Chiefs’ defense.While the Packers were hurt badly by the replacement officials in the Week Three Monday night loss to the Seahawks, the offense is just not performing as expected. Aaron Rodgers is having a hard time standing in the pocket and delivering and his production (3 TD passes in 3 games) is not what Packers fans and coaches expect to this point.
- OffenseThe Saints are out of rhythm on the offensive side. They have a solid group of running backs in Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, but they must get the ball to their explosive wideouts if they are going to get competitive after their slow start.The Packers are trying to take some of the pressure off of Rodgers by letting Cedric Benson run the ball. He’s big and strong, but he’s not an upper-echelon back. The Packers are having offensive line issues after allowing eight sacks against Seattle. Wideout Greg Jennings must be the Packers’ No. 1 receiver.
- DefenseThe Saints are hurting defensively and that’s not a surprise given the offseaon Bountygate problems. However, when they give up 233 yards to Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles, including a 91-yard touchdown run that gave the Chiefs life, that’s an unmitigated disaster.The Packers are playing well defensively, thanks in large part to the hot start of linebacker Clay Matthews. He has 6.0 sacks in the first three games and must be accounted for on every play. Linebacker A.J. Hawk is a solid tackler who led the Packers with 11 stops against Seattle.
- Special TeamsThomas Morstead can be a valuable weapon for the Saints. The punter averaged 55.8 yards on six punts against the Chiefs. Garrett Hartley is normally accurate, but he missed a 38-yard attempt against the Chiefs. Sproles is a superquick return specialist.The Packers feel like they have an explosive special teams player in Randall Cobb, who has explosive speed and can be a big-play maker. Mason Crosby is a dependable field goal kicker while Tim Masthay is a fine punter.
The Saints may have fallen off the edge when they blew a 24-7 lead against the Chiefs at home and handed Kansas City its first win of the year. The Saints will bounce back at some point because they are a prideful bunch, but it’s unlikely to be in Green Bay against a hungry Packers’ team that was robbed of victory in its last game against the Seahawks.