Early Bird Breakdown Week 7 – Saints @ Packers
Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week seven of the regular season. Before diving into the breakdown let’s recap last week’s game:
Last week Green Bay traveled to Minnesota and lost more than just the football game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone and is out until at least week 15 and possibly the entire season. Backup Brett Hundley was forced to take over and he looked okay but should be a lot better after reps with the first team this week. Minnesota’s backup Case Keenum looked surprisingly good and it was a strong showing by the Vikings all around. Minnesota won 23-10.
Packers’ Offense vs Saints’ Defense:
The good news for the Packers is that Hundley should play even better this week than last week. First, he has now had a week of practice with the starters which is huge. Second, left tackle David Bakhtiari is probable for the game. Third, New Orleans’ defense is much worse than Minnesota’s. However, the Saints defense has been pretty good against the run, ranking 11th in the league (versus ranking 27th in pass defense).
New Orleans is likely to load the box against the Green Bay running game, which may see the return of Ty Montgomery with some carries this week as well. As such, it will be up to Hundley to throw the ball a lot for Green Bay to win. And while I think he will do good, I am not sure he can match the production the Saints will be able to do on their offense.
Packers’ Defense vs Saints’ Offense:
The Saints prolific offense is lead by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and as usual he has been stellar. Overall, the Saints have the league’s seventh total offense and fourth in scoring offense. After trading their former number one overall wide out Brandin Cooks to New England this off season the offense has been more spread out. While Michael Thomas is the best weapon remaining in New Orleans, he is not the deep threat Cooks was and if Green Bay’s corners are healthy they should be able to cover him well enough.
However, health is a big concern for the Packers. Both starting Packer corners Damarious Randall and Davon House are questionable for the game. To make matters worse, starting safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Joe Thomas are both confirmed out for the game. Even at full strength the Saints would be a tough matchup but these injuries are going to be nearly impossible to overcome. Randall and House hopefully can suit up otherwise the Packers are in big trouble.
As for the running game, running back Mark Engram is the physical style back the Packers are better at matching up against. The Packers large and strong front seven led by Mike Daniels should be able to lock down Engram and the Saints are very likely to abandon the run early and only return to it later if needing to chew the clock.
Green Bay will be a cool 60 degrees and raining, which should aid the Packers as New Orleans is more accustomed to their dome stadium.
The Packers are likely too injured to overcome everything to win this game. With the secondary injuries and just how good of an offense the Saints have, they likely will score over 30 points. I am not sure if Hundley is ready yet to keep up in a shootout. If the defense was fully healthy I think the Packers could have pulled the upset, but with Hundley’s first NFL start combined with the defensive injuries, I think Saints win 34-24.As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University