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Odds taken 6 Sep, 2021 from Caesars Sportsbook
|Green Bay Packers||-4
|New Orleans Saints||+4
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The Green Bay Packers already know how their offense works and the Saints are going to have to figure that out, so take the Pack and Rogers and expect them to cover the spread.
After a few head fakes and some frustrated (yet honest) words, last year’s league MVP Aaron Rogers is still the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, at least in 2021, and he still has All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to target, so expect this team to perform well right off the bat, even against this Saints’ excellent defense.
It makes total sense for New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton to start veteran quarterback Jameis Winston under center in Week 1, that way the team can still use jack-of-all-positions Taysom Hill the way he is meant to be used, so long as the interception-prone Winston throws balls mostly to his own receivers like Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway.
These two NFC rivals have met each other 26 prior times, with the New Orleans Saints winning 9 of those games and the Green Bay Packers winning 17 of the games.
Despite all the dramatic offseason distractions that happened between QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers front office, the team is back together for the regular season and the talent that took them to a 13-3 record and deep into the playoffs last season is definitely still there.
That starts with the offense, and Rodgers has some huge playmakers to target, from receivers Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to tight end Marcedes Lewis and soft-handed running back Aaron Jones.
But for wins to happen, the Packers defense must continue to step up, last season a top-10 unit that did better against the pass than they did against the run, something that becomes possible with a big season from the linebacking Smith Brothers (see below).
In his six NFL seasons so far, Jameis Winston has completed over 60 percent of his passes for 121 total touchdowns, the only downside to that has been he’s thrown 88 interceptions so far, with 33 of those coming in his 2019 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now that Winston is developing under Saints head coach Sean Payton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and new QB coach Ronald Curry, the goal is to help him keep that big arm but teach him to use a lot more caution when engaging it so that those picks are kept to a minimum.
In 2019, Winston also thews for over 5,000 yards, a number that he could hit again with New Orleans if he can begin to develop into the quarterback that he was drafted to be when the Bucs drafted him first overall back in 2015.
The so-called Smith Brothers (no relation) Preston and Za’Darius are one of the big reasons why the Saints defense was ranked ninth overall last season, the two with 16.5 sacks and 94 total tackles between them.
Now the Packers, who last postseason lost in the NFC Championship game, must prove they are the real deal by figuring out how to use all that talent to get to the Super Bowl again, with some Smith Brothers’ production a sure means to get them there.
The Smiths put lots of pressure on the quarterback even when they weren’t taking them down, with 33 quarterback hits between the two, a number that has their opponent’s game-planning around keeping them both at bay.
Even though Saints perennial backup QB Taysom Hill put on a good show as he tried to take the starting reigns away from Jameis Winston this offseason, he will be relegated to his backup role once again, probably the best thing for him and the team given his unique set of skills.
Hill can run, catch, and throw the ball effectively, making him a huge threat when coming off the bench, not to mention the monkey wrench it throws into the defensive game plan to have him suddenly pop up on the field.
In his four NFL seasons, all with the Saints, Hill has done everything asked of him, and if he can continue to contribute in the same way (11 total rushing TDs, 7 receiving TDs, 4 passing TDs) with Winston under center, it puts New Orleans in a position to win big and often.
|Packers vs Saints Information|
|Teams||Green Bay Packers vs New Orleans Saints|
|Location||Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA|
|Time||Sunday, September 12, 2021; 4:25 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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