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What Lions Can Learn from Saints to Defeat Packers

Read more on what the Detroit Lions can learn from the New Orleans Saints' Week 1 win over the Green Bay Packers.

The Lions are facing a familiar foe in Week 2 in their NFC North divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers

However, it's not the kind of Packers game film they thought they'd be looking at going into the Monday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field

Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay were demolished by the New Orleans Saints Saints in their season opener, 38-3. 

It was the biggest loss in Rodgers' career as a starting quarterback, which dates back to 2008. 

The three-time NFL MVP finished the contest just 15-of-28 for 133 yards, to go along with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Meanwhile, in the first game of the post-Drew Brees era, new Saints starting signal-caller Jameis Winston completed 70 percent of his passes, and threw for five touchdowns. 

Rodgers' performance was so out of character, that it was almost as if Rodgers and Winston had changed bodies prior to the Week 1 contest. 

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The Saints produced constant pressure on Rodgers and Jordan Love, who came in to relieve the future Pro Football Hall of Famer in the fourth quarter. In all, New Orleans generated three turnovers, two sacks and seven QB hits against the two Packers QBs. 

Sean Payton's team brought a lot of physicality along the way, too, and it's something his former pupil Dan Campbell, the one-time tight ends coach in New Orleans, would like to replicate in Detroit's Week 2 matchup with Green Bay. 

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"Look, I would say this, they were very physical. They played very physical up front and really even in the second level, too," Campbell told reporters Thursday. "I felt like they challenged the receivers up front. They were able to set edges on that run game, which coach (Packers head coach Matt) LaFleur and them like to – they build a lot of things off of that, that way (Aaron) Rodgers has the boots and everything. They just – they did a good job of identifying Green Bay’s strengths and trying to take those away from him, and they got the upper hand and just kind of got them out of sorts early in the game. And they couldn’t quite recover.” 

Campbell also noted that time of possession played a big factor in the Saints' victory. Payton & Co. controlled the ball for 34:36, nearly 10:00 longer than LaFleur & Co. (25:24). 

"Look, I know that’s a good football team they (the Packers) played, because I just came from there. I think that time of possession played a big part in that," Campbell said. "New Orleans’ offense, I thought, was able to control some things, which, in turn, affected Green Bay’s offense. I know this, they’re going to be -- we’re going to -- New Orleans kicked the hornets' nest. So, we’re going to get everything they’ve got, and we have to assume we’re going to get their A-game. And, that’s how we’re preparing.” 

Even if the Lions are able to generate a solid amount of pressure against Rodgers, plus are able to control the time of possession to some extent, there's still no guarantee Detroit will be able to pull off the victory at Lambeau.  

Dating back to 2000, the Packers have won 31 of their last 42 meetings with the Lions, including four consecutive. 

For Campbell, Green Bay is "the gold standard" of the NFC North

"Well look, certainly, the quarterback plays a big part of that, both (former Packers QB Brett) Favre and (Aaron Rodgers) for all of these years. That certainly helps, but they’ve had enough pieces out there defensively," Campbell said. "Hell, (senior defensive assistant) Dom (Capers) was out there for years. They were - I think sometimes people forget, they had a pretty dominant defense for a number of years, as well. So, I think they’ve done a good job drafting. I think they’ve got a taste of success and know what it’s supposed to look like, how it’s supposed to look, a belief. And, year-in and year-out, they have a chance of winning the Super Bowl because of it.”

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