The Green Bay Packers couldn’t have lost to the Atlanta Falcons in a more disappointing fashion. The Packers’ offense imploded during the fourth quarter, and the Falcons scored 13 unanswered points to claim a one-point victory. Green Bay, though, must still feel the positive vibes of not collapsing entirely without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Packers quarterback Jordan Love still has a lot to prove before he can be considered a solid starting starter, but he is making serious strides forward. He was able to throw three touchdown passes last week but saw the offense fizzle out in the fourth quarter when the Packers needed it the most. When it comes to the New Orleans Saints, they have gotten off to a positive start in the Derek Carr era.
The Saints are 2-0 and hoping to keep the momentum against Green Bay on the road. During the early part of the season, the Saints’ defense has carried them. New Orleans will need to continue to prove it has the stuff to keep up with teams around the league.
Saints Have Had Recent Success Against the Packers
Green Bay is a 2-point favorite for a 1:01 p.m. kickoff Sunday at Lambeau Field for a meeting with the New Orleans Saints. The Packers have had much success against the Saints over their history, compiling a 17-10 record. New Orleans has turned the tide recently, winning three of the past four meetings.
The last meeting between the two sides was a 38-3 Saints victory in New Orleans on Sept. 12, 2021. The Saints and Packers have only played four times since 2014.
New Orleans Defense Keeps Streak Alive
The Saints are still waiting for Derek Carr to settle into his new team’s offense. While New Orleans tries to adjust its offense, the Saints can count on their defense. New Orleans has set a new team recording by holding their opponents to 20 or fewer points during their past 10 games.
While New Orleans didn’t force Carolina rookie quarterback Bryce Young into making game-changing turnovers, the Saints did sack Young four times. New Orleans confused Young without sending many blitz packages and generated their pass rush with the four guys up front. Can they do the same against Jordan Love this week?
Packers’ Offense Will Need to Figure out Plan B
Green Bay coach Matt Lafleur was optimistic after Aaron Jones hurt his hamstring in Week 1 that he could have returned to the game and was held out as a precaution. But when the Packers played Atlanta, Jones was on the injury list along with wide receiver Christian Watson. This undoubtedly limited Jordan Love’s option with the ball.
Green Bay’s running game didn’t have the same spark without Jones. Aaron Dillon only gained 55 yards on 15 carries. In the season-opener, Dillon gained 19 yards on 13 carries. By averaging less than four yards per carry, it doesn’t allow the Packers to take pressure off Jordan Love.
Carr Gets Second Chance in New Orleans
The Saints have been searching for a franchise quarterback since future Hall of Famer Drew Brees retired in March 2021. New Orleans hopes that Derek Carr, 32, can fill the gap for at least a few seasons before he retires. Carr nearly retired after being cut by the Las Vegas Raiders last February.
During Carr’s nine seasons in Oakland and Las Vegas, he finished with a 63-79 record under center and passed for at least 3,000 yards in every season. Carr also went over 4,000 yards passing from 2018 to 2021. Early returns on Carr’s performance in New Orleans have been mixed.
Carr has passed for 533 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Carr has thrown double-digit interceptions in six of his first nine NFL seasons. The Saints hope he can cut down on that.
Walker Starts in Place of Bakhtiari
Green Bay Packers tackle Rasheed Walker was called on to replace five-time Pro Bowl tackle David Bakhtiari in the lineup. Walker found out Saturday night before the Atlanta game that he would be starting. Bakhtiari ended up missing the game with swelling in his knee.
There have been a lot of questions around Bakhtiari, who criticized NFL teams for using field turn, which he said makes players more vulnerable to injury. The Packers insisted his absence in Atlanta had nothing to do with the field’s surface. Green Bay coach Matt Lafluer said that Bakhtiari also would have been out had the game been on the grass field at Lambeau Field.
The Packers’ offensive line situation is quickly building up injury issues. Green Bay left guard Elgton Jenkins is also supposed to miss a few weeks with a left knee injury he suffered against Atlanta. Jenkins has a sprained MCL and has now injured the same knee he tore his ACL in during the 2021 season.
All Hands On Deck
The Saints have been stretched thin at running back. Top returner Alvin Kamara is serving a three-week suspension for his role in a fight. New Orleans had acquired former Detroit running back Jamaal Williams in the offseason for an insurance policy, but he tweaked his hamstring against Carolina.
The Saints were forced to utilize utility player Taysom Hill out of the backfield as a runner. New Orleans also has Tony Jones Jr. to use. He ran for 34 yards against Carolina and scored the first two touchdowns of his career.
Packers’ Defense Needs to Adjust
Green Bay wasn’t staring down an elite quarterback on the other side of the field when they took on the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. The Falcons were led by running back Bijan Robinson, who has 124 yards rushing on 19 carries. Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder also finished with 237 passing yards and a rushing touchdown.
The Falcons finished with a 446-224 edge in total yards. Green Bay had a hard time putting pressure on Ridder and could only record one sack.