GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers kicked off the 2021 NFL season against the New Orleans Saints at 3:25 p.m. today in Jacksonville, Fla. We had updates all day as the Packers began their quest for the Super Bowl.
Saints 38, Packers 3
Saints 38, Packers 3 (10:46 remaining)
The Saints added insult to insult. Jameis Winston’s bomb to Deonte Harris beat Kevin King for a 55-yard touchdown. It was Winston’s fifth touchdown of the game vs. six incompletions. The bad news is the Packers are trailing by 35 points. The worse news is there’s almost 11 minutes remaining.
Saints 31, Packers 3 (14:54 remaining)
Jameis Winston threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Juwan Johnson, who was wide open on a pick that took out two defenders. It could be argued that should have been pass interference. What was inarguable is the Packers got hosed on a roughing-the-passer penalty on Za’Darius Smith on a third-and-9 interception by safety Darnell Savage. Smith didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t hit Winston high, he didn’t hit him late, he didn’t drive him into the turf. The only thing Smith did “wrong” was hit Winston hard. Not that it matters; the Packers have been humiliated.
Saints 24, Packers 3 (1:35 remaining)
With no choice given the scoreboard, coach Matt LaFleur kept his offense on the field on fourth-and-1 (almost 2) from the 22. Aaron Rodgers’ pass to Davante Adams was broken up by injured Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore. So, the Saints are in scoring range with an overwhelming lead. At this point, the only question is by how many points the Packers will lose.
Saints 24, Packers 3 (3:14 remaining)
The Packers are toast. Aaron Rodgers’ heave on third-and-8 was intercepted by Marcus Williams, with the safety’s 53-yard return setting up the Saints at the 12. On third-and-8, Jameis Winston had all the time in the world and hit Chris Hogan for what’s likely the clinching touchdown. Winston has three touchdowns vs. zero interceptions; Rodgers has zero touchdowns vs. two interceptions.
Saints 17, Packers 3 (9:30 remaining)
The Packers were on the threshold of getting back in the game. Instead, on second-and-7 from the 9, Aaron Rodgers stepped up in the pocket, threw into traffic to Davante Adams and was intercepted by rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo. The ball was a few yards behind Adams as Rodgers faced a lot of pressure. Given the way Green Bay’s defense has played, this could be a killer blunder. Adebo returned the ball 33 yards to the 40. The Green Bay drive was aided by a pair of defensive penalties, including an interference call on fourth-and-3.
Saints 17, Packers 3
The Packers are getting beaten like a drum, though they’ll get the ball to start the second half with a chance to get back in the game.
The tale of the tape: The Saints lead 208-70 in yards, 140-12 in rushing yards, 38-17 in plays and 16-5 in first downs. Saints running back Alvin Kamara has more yards (72) than Green Bay.
Saints 17, Packers 3
Finally, the Packers got a little something going on Aaron Rodgers’ 2-minute drill. A 14-yard completion to Allen Lazard on a slant got things going and a 31-yard connection to Davante Adams put the Packers in scoring position with 7 seconds to go. Mason Crosby booted a 39-yard field goal on the final play.
Saints 17, Packers 0 (1:07 remaining)
The Packers are melting in the Jacksonville sun in a listless performance. On fourth-and-goal from outside the 1, Jameis Winston powered through Rashan Gary’s potential sack and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Juwan Johnson, who made a leaping catch over Adrian Amos. Whatever Saints coach Sean Payton is calling, it’s working against Joe Barry’s spent and overmatched defense. The Packers had the Saints in a third-and-13 but couldn’t get off the field. A run by Alvin Kamara made it fourth-and-7. Payton kept the Saints on the field and a tight end screen was easy pickings. The only defender within a country mile of the play was Jaire Alexander, who was blocked by right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, resulting in a ridiculously easy 12-yard catch for Johnson. Kamara had a run for 10 in which he wasn’t touched and a 14-yard run in which he avoided Kenny Clark and had clear sailing until getting knocked out of bounds.
Saints 10, Packers 0 (11:16 remaining)
It’s early but the Packers are in a bit of trouble. The Saints have 10 first downs; the Packers have run only 12 plays. After AJ Dillon plowed ahead for 12 yards on two carries, Aaron Rodgers was sacked by Marcus Davenport. The loss of 11 was far too much to overcome.
Saints 10, Packers 0 (14:18 remaining)
Jameis Winston’s 2-inch pass to Alvin Kamara resulted in a 3-yard touchdown. Preston Smith made Kamara backtrack but Kamara got around the corner and ran through Darnell Savage’s tackle attempt for the score. On a hot afternoon, the Saints have held the ball for almost 12 minutes and run 23 plays to seven.
Saints 3, Packers 0 (end of quarter)
The Saints dominated the first quarter and will have a second-and-1 from the 6 to open the second quarter. The big play was Winston’s 10-yard scramble on third-and-8. Rashan Gary crashed the pocket but Winston ran around him and plowed ahead to move the chains. Next, on third-and-2, Alvin Kamara made a leaping catch and kept his balance to beat De’Vondre Campbell for the first down. Campbell is serving as the every-down linebacker. The Saints lead 8-1 in first downs.
Saints 3, Packers 0 (7:09 remaining)
Green Bay led the NFL in first-possession scoring last season but couldn’t get the answer. Coach Matt LaFleur gambled early, keeping the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from the 34, and won on Aaron Rodgers’ second-read completion to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. But the drive stalled, with rookie center Josh Myers giving up a third-down pressure and Rodgers ultimately throwing it away.
Saints 3, Packers 0 (11:00 remaining)
Aldrick Rosas booted a 44-yard field goal. Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, not exactly a running quarterback, took advantage of voids in the middle of the defense for runs of 11 and 15 yards. But a pressure by Preston Smith forced an incompletion on second down and Jaire Alexander had superb coverage on third down.
These are two NFC heavyweights. That makes this an incredibly important Week 1 showdown considering they could meet again in January. To state the obvious, the Packers would rather not have to play in the Superdome against a Saints team featuring a healthy Mike Thomas at receiver and a cornerback corps bolstered by the recent acquisition of Bradley Roby, who will miss this game due to a league suspension.
Speaking of Thomas, his absence is the difference in this game. The Packers have huge advantages at quarterback, with Aaron Rodgers over Jameis Winston, and on the perimeter, with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb better than Marquez Callaway and Chris Hogan.
Packers 30, Saints 20.
- The Packers are 10-3 in Week 1 with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Rodgers has thrown 27 touchdowns vs. six interceptions with a 104.3 rating in openers. That includes his four-touchdown masterpiece last year in Minnesota. The team has won six straight on Kickoff Weekend, tied with Kansas City for the longest current streak.
- With 231 passing yards vs. the Saints, Rodgers would pass Hall of Famer John Elway (51,475) for 10th-most in NFL history. He ranks seventh with 412 touchdown passes.
- Davante Adams has six-plus receptions in 12 consecutive regular-season games. Sterling Sharpe owns the team record with 13 straight. The NFL record is 16 in a row for Marvin Harrison from 2002 through 2003 with the Colts. Adams' streak is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.
Twelve players in NFL history have at least 10 consecutive games with six-plus receptions. Adams' 16 touchdowns are six more than anyone else, according to Pro Football Reference.
Well, maybe not, but the numbers are stark.
Since the NFL went to a divisional format in 1978, 333 Week 1 winners reached the playoffs and 204 won division titles. Meanwhile, only 151 Week 1 losers qualified for the playoffs and 86 won division titles.
Last year, all eight division winners earned Week 1 victories, and 11 of the 14 playoff teams were Kickoff Weekend winners.
Cobb: ‘Man, It Feels Good To Be a Packer’
Cobb’s story starts with the 2019 offseason, following the “demoralizing” sting that he was no longer wanted by the Packers and with a quiet phone at the start of free agency. His wife, Aiyda, played the Lil Wayne song “Let It All Work Out.” For Cobb, the song stood as a reminder. “Don’t let life get you down too bad. Stay patient. Let it all work out,” Cobb wrote.
Fast forward to late July, when he was traded to Green Bay just minutes before taking his pre-training camp conditioning test in Houston.
So now I’m rushing home to pack a bag. I’m hugging Caspian and Cade, my two boys, goodbye. I’m getting in the car with Aiyda, and she’s about to take me to the airport. But right before we back out of the driveway….. she puts on that Wayne song.
And that’s when it hits me.
Sitting there in the car, me and my wife — and I’m seriously on my way to Packers training camp. I’m on my way home. It’s crazy!!! We just sit there for a minute, letting that song play. And then we look at each other….. and we both start crying. It’s like these tears of joy, these tears of understanding. Let it all work out.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role Cobb will play this season. Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard figure to be the main three receivers. Cobb is the true slot receiver the Packers haven’t had since he departed a few years ago, but the other receivers are capable of playing in the slot and the team used a third-round pick on Amari Rodgers.
It’s actually not horrible in Jacksonville. With a couple hours until kickoff, it was 84 with 56 percent humidity. That meant a “feels-like temperature” of 88. Earlier in the week, the “feels-like temperature” was predicted to be hovering around 100.
Nonetheless, on a sunny Sunday, the Saints wisely are wearing their white uniforms – meaning Green Bay will be wearing its home green.
Packers-Saints How to Watch
TV: FOX – Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews/Tom Rinaldi (field reporters). As its Game of the Week, the game will be broadcast to much of the nation.
Entering Year 20, the Buck-Aikman tandem is second in longevity among NFL broadcasting teams to the legendary duo of Pat Summerall and John Madden.
Stream: On fuboTV,
Sirius: 138 (GB), 83 (NO) | XM: 380 (GB), 225 (NO) | SXM App: 811 (GB), 822 (NO)
The Packers remain 3.5-point favorites at FanDuel, with a total of 49.5 points.