Today’s game with the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers is expected to be a battle for both teams in rough starts for the season. I had a chance to chat with fellow FanSided Network site Lombardi Ave. Editor Ray Rivard.
Q: After the controversial call Monday night, many are pressing that the Saints will face an angry Packers team. How “angry” do you think they’ll be?
RR: I think there will be an “angry” factor, but it’s probably played up more than it really is. All of these guys are professionals and go about their work regardless of what’s occurred in the past. Yes, the players have an added incentive this week to come out and play “angry,” but for true professionals they really shouldn’t need that kind of incentive. That said, I think the “anger” could get them off to a hot start, which could make the difference in this game.
Q: What happened to the Packers offensive line against the Seattle Seahawks defense and do you think the Saints can capitalize on this?
RR: The Packers, as it happens so many times, got away from calling any run plays in the first half of the Seahawks game. If a defense knows they are going to pass every play, they can pin the ears back and go. That’s what the Seahawks did. When the Packers figured out they needed to run the ball it worked in the second half as the Packers controlled the tempo and possession with their running game.
Q: How do you feel the Packers secondary will match the Saints receiving corps?
RR: The Packers secondary has played well in the early going, despite the fact that they’ve got as many as four or five rookies or second year men on the field at any given time. I really like the addition of these young players to the secondary. They bring a new attitude and aggression that should help them match up against the talented Saints receiving corps.
Q: The Packers pass rush is well known especially with Clay Matthews. What other defensive lineman should we keep an eye on during the game?
RR: We’re still hoping that rookie linebacker Nick Perry starts playing like so many thought he would when he was picked first by the Packers in last April’s draft. When Erik Walden gets on the field, he’s also been playing well. In addition, the Packers like to bring defensive backs on blitzes, but we all know that Drew Brees can pick apart a defense when they blitz, so I’m not sure how often the Packers will bring that kind of pressure.
Q: Running back Cedric Benson has been quite a good signing for the Packers. Do you feel the Saints will have a rough time stopping him?
RR: Packers fans have been hoping that’s true. Benson had a solid game against the Seahawks and we are all hoping he can use that game as a springboard for the rest of the season. Aaron Rodgers needs a good running game to take some of the pressure off his shoulders.
Q: If the Packers lose this game, how bad do you think the ramifications will be throughout the team?
RR: If the Packers lose, it will be a significant blow to this team. Going back to the end of last season, Aaron Rodgers has lost four of his last five games – a fact that has been ignored in all the preseason hoopla, but a fact that may begin to cast some doubt on his ability to be consistent.
Q: What is your prediction and score?
RR: I think the Packers will come out fast in this one. Rodgers is due to have a good game and I see him picking apart the Saints defense. Drew Brees will keep the Saints in the game, but I think the Packers will get a turnover that will make the difference.Packers 35 Saints 27