One of the better games in week 4 is tomorrow’s game featuring the New Orleans Saints, who are still looking for their first win, and the Green Bay Packers, who look to get back on track at Lambeau Field. The game is FOX’s nationally televised game and will kick off at 3:25pm CDT. Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups in this contest.
On paper, this one looks to be a shootout between 2 teams that feature very good QB’s. Drew Brees threw 46 TD passes last season and had nearly 5,500 yards passing. Those gaudy numbers will be tough to duplicate this season, but he’s still Drew Brees. So far, he has 7 TD passes to 5 INT’s in the Saints 3 losses. It’s hard to digest the Saints being winless at this point but don’t be fooled. This team can still light it up and likely will before long.
Aaron Rodgers also had an incredible 2011 season with 45 TD’s in just 15 games and over 4,600 total yards passing. This year, Rodgers has just 3 TD’s to 2 INT’s through 3 games. He has faced San Francisco’s, Chicago’s and Seattle’s defenses who are both solid against the pass. In overall defense, San Fran is ranked 11th, Chicago is ranked 6th and Seattle is 4th, just behind the Packers. By contrast, Brees has faced Washington, Carolina and Kansas City. KC leads those 3 in defensive ranking but is 16th.
Here are what I see as the key matchups to keep an eye on tomorrow:
Aaron Rodgers vs. the Saints defense
As Aaron Rodgers goes, so do the Packers. Despite the team’s “resurgence” in the run game, the Packer offense starts and finishes on the arm of Rodgers. His stats indicate that he has struggled of late and they surely are down, but the Packers have been in every game they have played. Some, ok mostly everyone would argue that they should be 2-1. He has played well enough to win.
The reigning league MVP will face the league’s 32nd (last) ranked defense tomorrow. Now, keep in mind that the NFL’s defensive ranking is solely based on total yards surrendered. There is much more to a defense’s makeup than yards. Last year, the Packers were last in total defense but were also one of the top defense’s in terms of taking the ball away. The Saints will likely do what they can to get after the ball and mask some of the issues they have stopping teams from moving the ball.