Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no secret, but the New Orleans Saints are in a ‘sense of urgency’ mode. Despite a disappointing 2-4 start, the players and fans remain generally optimistic. Just ask Drew Brees, who personally accepted responsibility following the Saints heart crushing loss against the Lions.
The Saints desperately need a victory, as the team will be dealt another golden opportunity after action on Sunday. After all, the rest of the NFC South has their hands full: the Carolina Panthers host the Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons travel to London to play the Detroit Lions, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Minnesota Vikings. With the lackluster play of the NFC South this season, it’s safe to say that the Saints’ playoff hopes lie in their ability to win the division.
These two teams have recently given us thrilling games, but the past two contests have gone to the Packers. Each of those games was played in Lambeau (2011 & 2012). The Saints rallied back against the defending Super Bowl Champs from a 21-7 deficit in 2011, which was the NFL’s season opener. However, they fell short in the end 42-34. In that game, it came down to the final play, where Mark Ingram was negated from a potential touchdown by the Packers defense.
In the 2012 meeting, it was a different story, as the Sean Payton-less Saints were trying to pick up their first victory of the season, and again rallied from a 21-7 deficit. Drew Brees torched the Packers secondary for 446 yards on 35 completions, tossing three touchdowns. Marques Colston finished with 9 receptions for 153 yards, including a touchdown. This game could have been won, but Garrett Hartley missed the go-ahead 48-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining in the game. The Saints would fall to 0-4.
Most of you might remember the last time the Saints hosted the Packers in the Superdome, which was in 2008. It was a battle of 5-5 teams. That Monday Night Football game saw the Saints manhandle the Cheeseheads 51-29. However, it wasn’t until the second half when the Saints pulled away. The Saints went into halftime with a 24-21 lead, thanks to a 30-yard Garrett Hartley field goal at the end of the half. During that second half, the Saints would score 21 unanswered third quarter points, and added a Pierre Thomas touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Saints need to replicate results similar to the 2008 matchup.
In case you might have thought differently, the Packers are heavily favored in this game, despite the Saints having home field advantage. Some are calling for an upset pick, but the fact remains that Aaron Rodgers and company are playing some of their best football right now.
The Saints and Packers matchup looks to exhibit characteristics of a shootout atmosphere. In the four combined matchups since Sean Payton entered the scene in 2006, these two have tallied 272 points (146-126 in favor of the Saints). Drew Brees has four 300-yard passing games or better against the Packers, throwing for a combined 1,541 yards against them (353, 323, 419, 446). Brees also has 12 touchdowns and one interception to show for in the past four matchups against the Pack.
When it all boils down to it, both teams need a victory, but the Saints need it more. The Saints have a huge streak on their hands that is in jeopardy, going 18-0 in the Superdome under Sean Payton dating back to 2011. The team has a way of finding their ‘A-Game’ in Prime Time, as the team has won their past seven home games on Sunday Night Football. Furthermore, the Saints have won sixteen of their past seventeen night games in the Superdome, with a loss to the Cowboys in 2009 being the only blemish on this impressive feat.
Needless to say, it’s the perfect time for the New Orleans Saints to extract revenge on the Green Bay Packers, and start to right the ship for the rest of the season.