Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers. The New Orleans Saints vs. the Green Bay Packers. It will be a battle of the best when the two quarterbacks square off in primetime during Sunday night’s showdown in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
While the Black and Gold continue to struggle after a tough loss in Detroit, the Green and Gold are sitting at a healthy 5-2. I’m sure a majority of the country will be favoring Mike McCarthy and company on Sunday night, but Vegas thinks different, and for good reason — the Saints have not lost a game at home since the 2012 season and have won 13 straight primetime contests in the Dome.
It’s been lights-out at night since the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era began in 2006, and as New Orleans is desperately searching for a win this weekend, the Crescent City’s Pro-Bowl gunslinger will be in control.
Of course, the defense will indeed need to step it up against Rodgers, who has thrown for 18 touchdowns so far this season, but it’s really tough for anybody to shut him down. Like the Saints, the Packers’ defense is a bit off, allowing 362.7 yards per game. However, unlike New Orleans, Green Bay is forcing turnovers.
Here’s a positive for the Black and Gold to look at in regards to the Pack’s defense — they are allowing the second-most yards on the ground in the NFL this year. While we can sit here and say “well then the run game will be key for the victory,” it’s not.
With Mark Ingram back in the lineup and Khiry Robinson running well, the Saints should have no problems getting things going on the ground after averaging 123 yards through six contests. It’s also not the half backs that are turning the ball over. Unfortunately, Brees has thrown an interception in all but one game this season, including a pick that came late in the fourth quarter that helped seal the deal to the Lions’ comeback win this past weekend.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Coach Payton said he expects his quarterback to bounce back on Sunday. “Listen, he’s such a complete player and obviously an excellent competitor. And you know when you come off a tough loss like that (Detroit), I think everyone — players, coaches — look internally as to hey, how can we do a better job? So, that’s just the way he handles it and he’ll be more than ready. His preparation and routine this week won’t change and it’s good that we’re coming home and playing a home game.”
Looking at all that he’s accomplished during his career with both the San Diego Chargers and Saints, there is no reason why Brees should change his routine when preparing for a game. Changing what he’s done on the field this year will be key when it comes to making poor reads. If Drew can limit the mistakes and refrain from turning the ball over, then there is no reason why New Orleans can’t come away with the victory.
Obviously, an all-around team effort will be required to make the win a sure thing, but I believe the final outcome will fall on Brees. Protecting the ball and keeping it out of the hands of defenders is a must. If that happens, we may not see a turnover all game — Rodgers has only thrown one pick through seven weeks.
With that said, a back-and-forth, full-blown shootout is a likely scenario when the Saints host the Packers on Sunday night. Mistake-free football from Brees should result in win number three for the boys in the Big Easy.