Jeff Hanisch- US PRESSWIRE
After losing a game due to a bad last-second call by the replacement refs, the Green Bay Packers will be looking for redemption this weekend against the New Orleans Saints. Both of these teams were expected to be two of the top teams in the NFC this year, but the Packers are currently 1-2 while the Saints haven’t won a game yet at 0-3.
This matchup is expected to be a shootout as two of the best passing offenses in recent years are facing off. However, both teams haven’t looked the same on offense this season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is off without his head coach Sean Peyton. Brees has only completed 54 percent of his passes and has thrown seven touchdowns to five interceptions. With the offense not performing well, the Saints have no shot at winning games since their defense is one of the worst in the league. They have been horrible at stopping the run this season allowing an average of 215 yards per game.
The Packers on the other hand have a much improved defense from last year which has been able to hide the fact that the offense has been struggling this season only averaging 19 points a game compared to 35 points from a year ago. With the Saints proving they are a one-dimensional team, the Packers need stay focused on the Saints passing game and make the running backs beat them. The best way to stop the Saints offense is to apply pressure on the middle of the line. Brees is one of the shorter quarterbacks in the league and he isn’t very mobile which makes it hard for him to escape pressure up the middle. If the Packers can push the offensive line back, the defense should have a great day.
On offense, the Packers have to make some changes to what they did last season. They need to become more focused on the running game to create a more balanced offense. In the first half of last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers only ran the ball two times in the first half. Green Bay was shut out in the first half as well so it was clear that the passing game wasn’t strong so the run should have been incorporated more.
Cedric Benson is a power running back that should be able to carve through the Saints run defense. They are ranked last in the league at stopping the run and are next to last in points allowed at 34 per game. If Benson can get off to a great start, it will open more passing plays for Aaron Rodgers and keep the already bad Saints defense on their toes.
This game is a must-win for the Saints and the Packers have to be prepared for a determined team with their season on the line. The Packers will be looking for redemption, but the Saints just want to get a win. Both teams will have all the motivation they need to win this game so it will come to executing plays late to determine the winner.
On the injury front, both teams are pretty healthy going into the game this weekend. The Packers are the only team with key players hurt. Greg Jennings, Bryan Bulga and Jerel Worhty were all limited in practice this week but should be able to play this Sunday.
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