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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Saints vs Packers in the Opener. Who's Going to Win?

Tomorrow night brings us a night that we weren't sure was going to happen, after a lengthy hold out and teams missing nearly all of training camp.  And what a way to open up the season with the last two defending Super Bowl champs playing at Lambeau.

I really don't see weather being a factor in early September, so the Saints should not be affected by playing outdoors.  Drew Brees will be able to sling the ball all over the field, and you better believe he will.  Brees may throw the ball 45 times, unless Mark Ingram is better out of the gate than we anticipated.  This will not go well for the Saints.  The Packers have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, and many people forget that Brees threw nearly as many interceptions as Eli Manning did last season.  (So stop hating on Eli you critics).

The recipe for the Saints to win this game is a balanced attack.  They need to have Ingram and Thomas moving the ball consistently behind that offensive line.  Expect Darren Sproles to have some third down looks out of the backfield.  They will work to get him the ball in open space so he can do what he does best and make people miss.  

For the Packers to win, all they need to do is have Aaron Rodgers play half as well as he did during the post season in 2010.  Unless they can get the running game to be more efficient and consistent, look for defenses to figure Rodgers out.  With the Saints front four, I don't see the Pack running too effectively in this game.  This means Rodgers will need to be in top form.  If Greg Jennings is clicking with Rodgers tomorrow, look for the Saints secondary to have a long night.  I expect JerMichael Finley to be a welcomed addition to the passing game, and he'll provide a huge target for Rodgers in the red zone.

Like so many football fans, I'm thrilled that this day is finally here, and can't wait to tune in to the game tomorrow night.  My prediction, the Packers beat the Saints 28-24 in a late 4th quarter drive by Aaron Rodgers.   

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