The New Orleans Saints (1-1) return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, following their 34-24 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) on Monday night. This week's foe? The NFL's top-rated offense, the Green Bay Packers (2-0). The world will be watching the battle between two NFC heavyweights and two future Hall of Fame QBs under the primetime lights Sunday night.
Below are the Saints News Network Krewe's keys to a Saints victory in Week 3.
I expect the New Orleans defense to play better than they did last week against the Raiders. And they'll have to for even a chance to win. Stopping Aaron Jones and the running game is paramount, but that's a matchup that favors New Orleans. The Saints must be able to get consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers, get him on the ground, and force him to rush his throws while the secondary clamps down on short routes.
My key for victory in this game, however, lies with Drew Brees and the passing game. The Saints should have success on the ground as long as they stay patient with it, but they need to make some plays in the Packers secondary. They'll be without Michael Thomas again, but I look for Jared Cook to have a big impact. Emmanuel Sanders and Tre'Quan Smith have to get separation and give their quarterback a reliable option at wide receiver.
Kyle T. Mosley
The keys to victory are with two Coaches, Sean Payton and Dennis Allen. On offense, be consistent with the rushing attack. Rushing Kamara and Murray can open the field for Drew Brees to take shots down against the Packers' secondary. On defense, Dennis Allen must find consistent pressure in Aaron Rodgers' face to make him uncomfortable in this contest.
Biggest Key to Saints Victory: Disciplined Approach
The first couple of weeks have been a big struggle for the Saints, particularly in the penalty department. It's one thing to make mistakes, but another that sees so many. The good news is that Sean Payton and company have said a bunch of these are technique-related, while others are just mental mistakes.
If you're going to beat Aaron Rodgers and company, you have to limit the mistakes. Rodgers is a quarterback who can easily escape the pocket and extend the play, and the Saints have to generate a stellar pass rush while also putting the clamps down in coverage. The defensive effort from last week is not what you want to see here, and we are waiting to see if it was just a blip on the radar or a bigger problem.
Offensively, you have to maximize the possessions given, and Drew Brees is the focal point here. He can singlehandedly win this game for the Saints but must perform better than the first couple of weeks. Not having Michael Thomas will hurt again, and others desperately need to step up.
Dr. Carla Antoine
This Hall of Fame quarterback battle between Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers is sure to be a meeting of the minds. Both quarterbacks are known for winning games through critical thinking, but Rodgers runs a bit more than Brees and has more off-balance throws, so I expect the Saints to exploit that weakness.
The keys to a Saints victory on Sunday night will be quarterback Drew Brees. His unique ability to read what the defense is doing, better command of his offense, and more production from quarterback/tight end Taysom Hill defensive back Marshon Lattimore. The Saints are more talented than their record shows, and I hope this is the week the team gets in sync against a talented NFC contender.
When you face a team that has the ability to put up points like the Green Bay Packers the best thing any team can do is keep it out of the offense's hands. New Orleans' defense struggled in the second half against the Raiders and the secondary got carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Now, just a week later, Aaron Rodgers comes into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome looking to inflict the same punishment Derek Carr did on Monday.
My key to victory is much easier said than done. Win the time of possession battle and sustain long drives. With that said, Sunday should be a high dose of Kamara and Murray, which, in return, should open up play-action and more opportunities deep in the passing game (which I know a lot of Saints fans want to see more of). The offense needs to re-find its mojo, fingers crossed they do so Sunday night.
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