After an offseason which included months of drama between QB1 Aaron Rodgers and team management, week 1 has finally arrived. Whether or not is this the Packers version of ‘The Last Dance’ remains to be seen, and those questions will linger throughout the season, the Packers are poised to make a run at the Super Bowl. Let’s dive into this Packers vs Saints Game Preview.
Packers vs Saints
- When: Sunday, September 12 at 3:25 pm CST
- Where: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
- TV: FOX
- Broadcasters: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth with Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi on the sidelines
- Radio: WTMJ 620 am
Game Preview: 3 Things to Watch
How the neutral venue will affect the teams?
This game was suppose to be played in New Orleans but due to Hurricane Ida, the game has been moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Instead of it being a home game for the Saints, this now more than likely will turn out to be favorable atmosphere for the Packers. We could see a lot of Packers fans travel from Wisconsin to Florida for the game as well as a lot of Wisconsin transplants attend the game. That could tilt the crowd to the Packers and give them the advantage instead of playing in a packed dome of Saints fans. I would not expect it to be a sold out crowd.
Instead of the controlled climate and conditions inside the dome, it will be outdoors with humid and steamy conditions in Jacksonville. Cramping could become an issue for the Packers, so hydration will be key. The Saints on the other hand regularly practiced outdoors during training camp so they are used to the 90 degree temperatures and humidity. How the Packers cope with the weather will be key to them winning this matchup.
Packers Offensive Line vs Saints Defense
The Packers are without two of the their top offensive lineman from last season in left tackle David Bakhtiari who is out to start the season due to a torn ACL from last year and center Corey Linsley who left via free agency. Last season, the Packers offensive line gave up 25 sacks in 18 games, which was a drastic improvement from the previous seasons. The line did not exactly dominate during the pre-season as a whole. The Saints on the other hand have a very aggressive defense. Last season, they ranked 8th in the league with 45 sacks and fifth in the league with 113 quarterback hits. It is imperative that the line gives Aaron Rodgers time to throw the football. A strong running game will help with the pressure. The game will be won in the trenches.
Aaron Rodgers. What else can you say? He is a first ballot hall of famer. Rodgers did not play in any of the preseason games. Rodgers and the offense will need to get off to hot start and in a good flow. He has his trusted slot receiver back in Randal Cobb and I expect to see Rodgers look to Cobb when he needs a first down or when the play breaks down. Davante Adams is still the man, but Cobb will be crucial to the offense. Cobb is a Rodgers guy. This offense has the weapons to be very dynamic and one of the best offenses this organization has seen. How this offense jelled during training camp will be key to getting off to a good start.
This should be a very competitive contest despite the Saints no longer having Drew Brees under center. The heat will play a factor for the Packers as a player or two may deal with cramps and they will more than likely have to frequently sub players in and out. I wouldn’t expect the crowd to be too much of a factor but I could see it being pro Packers. Rodgers and the offense will start slowly and it will be a very hard fought game. I do predict the Packers to game out victories and win by a touchdown. I do not see this game as a blow out. The game will be decided in the fourth quarter. It will be a great game to start the Packers Championship Season!
Go Pack Go!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag