Week Three is here. Let’s talk X-factors for the Packers against the New Orleans Saints. This game will have significant playoff implications for the NFC.
The 2-0 Packers will take on the 1-1 Saints in primetime on Sunday night.
Let’s Get into it, X-Factors For The Packers Week Three!
1. Za’ Darius Smith
Za’Darius Smith has had this game marked on his calendar since June after Drew Brees made some insensitive comments on the anthem protests. Even going on Instagram and posting a picture of this game!
Za’Darius has had an average start to the season, but even with his play a little inconsistent, he has two sacks going into week three.
I expect him to play with that passion and energy we saw so much last year, mostly from week eight on.
We have seen this defense struggle at times, and I would contribute it to a lack of energy and urgency, which most likely is due to no fans and the offense playing at such a high level through two weeks.
But Za’Darius can bring that energy that I believe they will need to win on Sunday.
2. Rick Wagner
Rick Wagner will have his hands full against Cameron Jordan. Cam Jordan primarily lines up against the right tackle.
Jordan, a five-time Pro Bowler and a dominant pass rusher will give Wagner a challenging task on Sunday night.
Wagner has been excellent this season; he didn’t start week one but came in as injuries began to pile up. He played in 59% of the snaps week one, and all 73 snaps in week two.
Having a steady presence at right tackle to help neutralize Jordan is essential. Give Rodgers a clean pocket and watch him work!
3. Kevin King
King was the Packers interception leader last year with five, not saying that it’s the only stat to track how well a defensive back is playing, but he had those INTs in a lot of big games at critical moments.
Kevin King’s name has not been mentioned a lot early this season, but sometimes not hearing from a cornerback is a good thing meaning they aren’t allowing any completions or big plays.
Last week against the Lions, he didn’t even have a pass thrown his way! He has only been targeted five times this season while playing over 90% of defensive snaps.
If the Packers want to win this game, they will need a turnover or two to give the offense extra possessions to help with ball control and keep the ball out of the hands of Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara.
Kevin King is my pick to make a game-changing play that effects the game in the Packers favor!
4. Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Charles Rodgers, two weeks into the season, is playing some of his best football I have seen since 2016 during the “Run The Table” playoff push.
The way he is playing in the rhythm of the offense and getting the ball out quickly, all while not abandoning the big-play nature of his game. It is a sight to see!
Rodgers, in his career, is 32-24 in primetime.
Aaron Rodgers, at times, struggles in games like this on the road. But having little to no fans in the Superdome should be something Rodgers takes advantage of and helps this offense cook on Sunday night.
I believe Rodgers is a critical component to this game; if they want to start this season 3-0, obviously he is key to every game the packers play, but this game sticks out as one where they will need him to step up.
His play won’t be the only thing to help this team win; it’s his leadership and veteran presence in the huddle and on the sideline that I think will make a massive difference in this game’s outcome.
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