In every season, there are a handful of games that can be considered statement games. This Sunday night’s matchup between the Packers and Saints is such a game. For the Saints, they will be looking to make the statement that their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders (that was weird to type) was a fluke. The Packers, on the other hand, will be looking to make a statement win against one of the best teams in the NFC. It is early, but such a matchup between NFC contenders could have playoff seeding implications later on. For this reason, this is a very important game for both teams. Here, we will highlight three matchups that could determine the outcome.
Matchup #1- Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees
Obviously, Rodgers and Brees will not be on the field at the same time. However, the marquee matchup between these two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks has been something that football fans have been looking forward to ever since the NFL schedule was released. So far this season, Rodgers is playing like the Rodgers of old and has earned some early MVP talk. Brees, on the other hand, has been criticized for his lack of down-field throws.
Of course, these two quarterbacks are two of the best of the era. This matchup will provide fans and analysts with just another talking point in the debate over which one of them is greater.
Za’Darius Smith vs. Drew Brees
Earlier in the summer, Drew Brees made some strong statements regarding protests during the National Anthem. In short, he said any form of protesting during the National Anthem was disrespectful and that standing for the anthem with one’s hand over one’s heart was a good way to show unity. Needless to say, his insensitive remarks were met with plenty of criticism from both teammates and opponents.
One of those opponents was Za’Darius Smith, the Packers’ linebacker. Soon after Brees’ comments went viral, Smith posted the following on Instagram:
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) June 4, 2020
It is quite obvious that Smith took exception to what Brees had said. While Z has not had the kind of games that made him a standout last season, this post certainly points to an extra fire that will be motivating him on Sunday night.
Ricky Wagner vs. Cameron Jordan
Cameron Jordan is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL today. He has made three straight Pro Bowls and was a First Team All Pro in 2017. Last season, he 15.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He also totaled 25 quarterback hits. In short, he has been a force to be reckoned with.
This season, however, Jordan has been kept in check and has yet to record his first sack of 2020. He does have one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss, but has not been the disrupting force the league has seen over the last few years.
Ricky Wagner, the pride of Nathan Hale High School in Wisconsin, was called upon to fill the hole at right tackle when Lane Taylor’s season-ending injury. He has played exceptionally well and has not allowed a sack yet in the season’s first two games. It is likely that he will matchup against Jordan for much of the game on Sunday night. If he can keep Cameron Jordan from getting to Rodgers, the Packers will be in phenomenal shape.