The New Orleans Saints host the Green Bay Packers on September 12 at 4:25 Eastern Time. Although technically a home game, there isn’t much of a home field advantage since the game will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Last season, the Packers went 13-3, while the Saints posted a 12-4 record. The game will have a different feel since the Saints will have a new quarterback running the show for the first time since 2005. The Packers enter the contest as a 4-point road favorite.
Offensively, the Packers led the league in scoring last season at 31.8 points per game and the Saints were fifth at 30.1 points per contest. Defensively, the Saints allowed the 5th fewest points per game at 21.1 and the Packers ranked near the middle of the pack, 13th at 23.1 points allowed per game.
Some of the key matchups to watch include the quarterback play of Aaron Rodgers versus Jameis Winston. On paper, this is a mismatch in favor of the Packers. After all, Rodgers is a 3-time MVP winner, including last season in which he had a 48-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an unfathomable 121.5 passer rating. Always one to take care of the ball, Rodgers threw fewer interceptions over the last first seasons than Winston did in 2019. Winston still has great skills and there is a reason he was the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The problem is propensity for the costly interception.
Rodgers enters play against the Saints with a 4-2 record, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. Watch the offensive line play of the Saints. If they protect Winston, he could have a very good game. However, when under pressure he’s been one of the very worst quarterbacks in the NFL. Hence, expect the Packers to dial up the blitzes early and often.
Rodgers loves to target Davante Adams, which leads to the next matchup to watch. Can the Saints cover Adams effectively with Marshon Lattimore? Adams played in just a little over 13 games, yet still had 115 catches for nearly 1400 yards and 18 touchdowns. Lattimore is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and coming into a contract year, should be out to prove he deserves upper echelon money. Containing Adams would be a great step in that direction.
Since Adams missed last year’s game against the Saints, he and Lattimore haven’t squared off since 2017. The Saints could be in for a rude awakening if they put Lattimore on Adams one on one for the majority of the game. Lattimore gave up a 103.3 passer rating last season in coverage, allowing 13.9 yards per reception.
Another player to watch is Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Although he rushed for a career-high 937 yards last season, Kamara is even a bigger threat out of the backfield, hauling in 83 for 756 yards and five touchdowns. He’s a do-everything type of back that could give the Packers fits. The question is how well the Saints utilize him without Brees at the helm.
Looking at the Packers will win, the answer is simple. Aaron Rodgers is still under center and the Saints aren’t playing in the friendly confines of the Superdome. Rodgers has a plethora of weapons to work with a deep running game led by Aaron Jones. With Michael Thomas out for the Saints, they won’t have the firepower to keep pace.
To see how the Saints could win, look no further than the defense. It is among the best in the NFL and could keep the Packers offense under control. In addition, the offensive line is solid enough to provide running lanes and time for Winston, limiting potential costly interceptions.