It’s finally here! The regular season is upon us. In week one the Packers and Saints are one of the premiere matchups. Two of the most successful organizations over the past few years, it’s a matchup I’ve had circled since the schedule came out. Although in an unintended location due to the aftermath of hurricane Ida, Jacksonville, the matchups for the game still just as intriguing. There are three critical matchups the Packers must dominate to start the season off with a win in week 1.
Packers Offensive Line vs Saints Defensive Line
Easily one of the biggest question marks going into the season is the Packers offensive line. While there is clearly incoming talent with Josh Myers and Royce Newman. This will be the first time in 15 years that the Packers will be starting two rookies along the line. Additionally, Elton Jenkins will be the opening day left tackle while David Bakhtiari continues to rehab from his ACL injury. Unfortunately, the Packers start off with a tough matchup with Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Two extremely talented players offer a stern test for the Packers remade line. Pressure ruins any game plan, and if the new line can’t contain the Saints pressure packages, it will be a long week one for the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
Packers Defensive Front vs Saints Offensive Line
It may be cheesy (pun intended), but an equally noteworthy matchup is the Packers Defensive front against the Saints offensive line. You could easily argue that the strength of the 2021 Saints is their offensive line. Boasted multiple first round picks and pro bowl players, the challenges ahead of the Packers are clear. One of the biggest questions is whether Kenny Clark and his fellow DTs can hold the line in run defense. The Saints will start Jameis Winston, so they will likely try to get the run game going to make his life a little easier in Week 1. Eventually, they will pass. When that time comes, the combination of the Smith Brothers and Gary need to overtake the talented Saints line. Pressuring Winston will likely lead to him making more of the the numerous mistakes that cost him the starting job in Tampa Bay.
WR Davante Adams vs CB Marshon Lattimore
For people who love to see the best of the best compete (who doesn’t?), then Davante Adams versus Marshon Lattimore is must see TV. One of the best young corners in the NFL versus Davante Adams will be a critical matchup that will define who wins this game. It’s likely that the Saints will test early to see if Lattimore can shut down Adams. It’s even more likely that Rodgers and the Packers will try to get Adams going as quickly as possible. If Adams can win those one on ones early, then the Saints will be forced to move coverage to bracket Adams, giving the numerous other weapons, such as Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, for the Packers opportunities to thrive. This will then allow Rodgers and the Packers to dictate matchups and the flow of the game throughout.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.