We made it to football season! A congratulations is in order to all of you who read this. It’s been a long time since real meaningful Packers football, but we’re back. The Packers open week one vs. the Saints. Because of Hurricane Ida, this game will be played in Jacksonville, Florida. We’ll get into more of that later on, but for now lets preview week one: Packers Vs. Saints.
Packers football is back and we’re on the road in Jacksonville to take on the Saints. The team is relatively healthy minus Za’Darius Smith who is currently listed as questionable for the late Sunday affair. My guess would be that if he did play, he would be very limited due to the heat and humidity that Florida brings.
#Packers list LB Za’Darius Smith as questionable for Sunday vs. the Saints.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 10, 2021
The Receiving Core
The Packers might sneakily have the best receiving core in the league this year. Randall Cobb, who has great chemistry with Rodgers, is back in Green Bay. We also welcome Amari Rodgers from Clemson who can be the first true slot receiver the Packers have had since Cobb left. With the addition of those two, and more time for MVS, Adams, and Lazard to get familiar with Rodgers, opponents beware. Don’t sleep on Malik Taylor who led the preseason in yards, and could be a real threat when he sees the field.
— NFL (@NFL) September 4, 2021
The Offensive Line
I did an article on the offensive line coming into this year vs. last year you can read here. David Bakhtiari won’t be able to play until week seven, and we have two rookies starting on the line for the first time in 15 years. We should know pretty early on how well the offensive line meshes, because I expect the Saints to bring pressure and test the young guys on that line. The Packers have all the faith in their two rookies, Josh Myers (Center) and Royce Newman (Right Guard), and rightfully so as job number one is keeping Rodgers off the ground.
How The Packers Can Win
The Packers win this game if they obviously keep the ball in Rodgers’s hands. Mistake free football and a good balance of Jones and Dillon coming out of the backfield. Limiting the Saints best player in Alvin Kamara is key on defense as he torched us last year on the ground. New Saints QB Jameis Winston will keep the secondary busy as Winston likes to let the ball loose down the field. If the Packers play like we expect them to, it should be a hard fought win in the heat of Jacksonville.
The biggest difference for the Saints this year is the man under center. Drew Brees retired after last season, and former Buccaneer Jameis Winston won the starting job. Winston was a decent starter in Tampa, but his interceptions took his team out of many games. Winston became the first player to join the 30 30 club. That’s at least 30 touchdowns and at least 30 interceptions. Winston soon after had Lasik surgery to correct his vision. We haven’t seen much of Winston since that 30 30 year. But the Saints certainly hope that the Lasik made a big difference.
The Saints’ Receiving Core
The Saints will be without their number one receiver in Michael Thomas to start the season. The connection from Brees to Thomas was almost automatic in years past. Winston will have to find another guy to rely on. Running back Alvin Kamara should see plenty of touches in the flat. The Saints are high on receiver Marquez Callaway who will likely be the number one receiver option for Winston. PFF gave him the highest receiving grade this preseason.
Highest receiving grades this preseason | min. 5 targets
⚜️ Marquez Callaway – 95.4
🇺🇸 Jakobi Meyers – 91.3
🗽 Corey Davis – 90.2 pic.twitter.com/J4yS8NFVI9
— PFF (@PFF) August 24, 2021
New Orleans and the surrounding areas were unfortunately damaged by Hurricane Ida almost two weeks ago. Knowing that it would be nearly impossible to play games in New Orleans, the Saints will be playing their home games on the road for the foreseeable future. The Saints picked Florida, and Jacksonville specifically, because they believe that they have an advantage based on Rodgers’s 3-4 record in the state. Couple that with the similar humidity from New Orleans to Jacksonville, the Saints believe that Jacksonville is their best option.
As to why Jacksonville was chosen, the story is that the Saints looked up flights from Green Bay to the 3 Florida football stadiums and Jacksonville was the most expensive. So, Jacksonville it is. As a former Floridian, I know there are a lot of Packers fans in Florida. I expect to see plenty of Packers fans at the game for this away game. The Packers will be wearing their home green for this game.
As always, Go Pack Go!
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