Thursday, September 27, 2012

Keys to the Game: Saints @ Packers

Sunday Showdown:

Saints look to avoid 0-4, and need to steal this one in Lambeau

Here's my weekly take on the Keys to the Game for the Saints on Sunday!


The offense had their lowest output of the season against the Chiefs. Yes, the controversial 'catch' but not a catch by Pierre Thomas lead to NO points on the board. Anyway, I digress. The single most important factor here for me is the offensive line. Zach Strief was under a ton of fire after being picked on last week. This week - Clay Matthews has to be accounted for, you remember what he did to Jay Cutler? If the line can't contain & pick up the blitzes, it will lead to some really bad decisions from Brees, and he's made 5 of those this year. Speaking of Brees, his QB Rating is 77.0 - ouch. Again, it doesn't really change for me either from last week, stick to the run! Sproles broke out for that 47 yard dash early, but they only ran for 19 times (4.4 average). The receivers have to make the tough & easy catches. I look for a big game from Jimmy Graham, who had some very not-Jimmy like numbers last week after being targeted 8 times, but only getting 4 grabs for 16 yards & a TD. He was a beast last year in Green Bay, which I'm sure they remember. He will be a huge piece in keeping the drives alive.

This just pisses me off, and I'm glad the rent-a-refs are gone.

I again say that the defense's performance was forgotten even though they were able to get sacks & turnovers. The meltdown I blamed on the offense, which if you missed it: Game 3 Rapid Reaction: Chiefs @ Saints. The Saints possess the league's worst Defense as a direct result of the first three games. If you are looking for some encouraging factors, they moved up to 18th (Tied with 3 teams) in sacks. The key here is to learn from what Seattle was able to do against the O-Line. That's been two games (Bears was the other) where the high powered Packer offense has looked flat. It should be a heavy dose of Cedric Benson if they can get the pressure going on Aaron Rodgers, who has only thrown for 3 TDs on the year. One can only hope that Hawthorne & Casillas will be healthy enough to play this one. I believe Hawthorne going down last week so early was a huge difference in the game believe it or not. If you vaguely remember last season's opening matchup, we were without the services of Will Smith (also Lance Moore). I believe he could create just enough pressure on Rodgers to possibly land in the arms of Cam Jordan.  On the secondary side, we can't give up the big play or deep throw. Jordy Nelson is my biggest concern here.

Did you know you can tackle the defense?

Special Teams
The key here is on the Saints Special Teams. Last meeting between these two saw a record tying Randall Cobb kickoff return for a touchdown. Cobb is a very dangerous factor on offense for the Packers, but I'm more worried about containing him in terms of field position. As for the other things, make your field goals Garrett Hartley, that's all that's needed.

Down memory lane, sick play by Cobb

Drew Brees. He must take charge of the offense, and play a near perfect game. Studying film is always good, but he will need to get on his players when necessary. 

Three games, three losses. It's not at all how anyone thought it would be to start the beginning of the season. I don't have a ton of analysis this week, because we've heard enough talk, chat, and everything else. Simply put, DO YOUR JOB boys, and your job alone. Your back is against the wall, and these next two games are probably the biggest of the season. Both teams need this win, and we'll just see who wants it more. Make us proud, and put together a victory!

Final Prediction: Saints 34, Packers 31 (OT)

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