The surging New Orleans Saints storm their way north to the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field today to face the Green Bay Packers. While it may not yet be the "frozen tundra", to borrow the words the late great John Facenda of NFL films, Lambeau Field is still one of the most iconic stadiums in the NFL.
This will be the 25th meeting between the Saints and Packers, with Green Bay holding a 16-8 advantage. The last time these two played was 10/26/14 in New Orleans, with the Saints emerging as 44-23 winners. The first time the two ever played was on November 17, 1968, in Green Bay. The Packers were the defending world champion, coming off of their second straight Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl II, the last game coached by legendary coach Vince Lombardi for the franchise.
Although the Packers, now led by new coach Phil Bengston, were in decline, they still had future Hall of Famers Bart Starr and Willie Wood, along with numerous pro bowlers like Carroll Dale and Boyd Dowler. The Saints, in just their 2nd year of existence, were no match for the veteran champions that day, falling 29-7.
Green Bay holds a 10-2 all-time record against the Saints in games played in their home stadium, and a 5-1 record against the Saints in Lambeau. The first New Orleans road victory in the series occurred on November 28, 1971 in Milwaukee County stadium. The Saints emerged victorious by a score of 29-21, on the strength of 113 yards rushing by Bob Gresham and five field goals from Charlie Durkee. New Orleans would go on to lose the next seven road games in the series, with their next win in Green Bay coming at the dawn of a new era for the franchise.
The date was September 17, 2006, the second week of the NFL season. The Saints had hired a brand new coach (Sean Payton), and signed an injured free agent quarterback (Drew Brees) that previous offseason after a 3-13 finish in 2005 that included a 52-3 road loss to the Packers. New Orleans had won their 1st game under the new regime, a road victory at Cleveland, but had yet to play at home after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina the year before, and now traveled to Lambeau Field to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.
Despite falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter and surrendering 340 passing yards to Favre, the Saints stormed back with 20 unanswered points. They held on in the 4th quarter for a 34-27 victory behind 353 yards passing and 2 touchdowns from Brees, his first 300-yard passing game as a Saint, and the only New Orleans victory on Lambeau turf.
Drew Brees holds a 3-2 record against the Packers as a Saint, 1-2 on the road, but has lit up the stat sheet in all five games. He has completed nearly 70% of his passes, for 1,852 yards, an average of 370/game, with 15 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions.
Despite gaudy career statistics, Brees and the Saints passing game have yet to have the truly explosive game that we've come to expect. They haven't needed to. They have been efficiently taking care of the ball, protecting the quarterback, and running the ball effectively with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Packers are ranked just 24th against the run defensively, but can effectively rush the passer with outside linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, who have 2.5 sacks each.
Green Bay will play this game without All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who broke his right collarbone in last week's loss to Minnesota. Third year Brett Hundley will make his first career start against an aggressive New Orleans defense that has 13 sacks and 9 turnovers in the last three games, scoring 3 touchdowns in last week's win against Detroit. Hundley will have an offensive line in front of him that has not been able to protect the passer nor open holes for a struggling rushing attack. The Saints secondary will have to be wary of Packer wideouts Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who have combined for 387 yards receiving and 3 scores in the last three meetings between the teams.
The weather forecast calls for pregame rain showers, but to ease up around kickoff (yes, we give you Everything here at Canal Street Chronicles!). Barring bad weather, expect the Saints to have a more aggressive offensive game plan than in recent weeks, forcing the inexperienced Hundley to try and match scores with Brees & Co. against an aggressive and rapidly improving New Orleans defense. This game has all the warning signs for a "trap game" for the Saints, but the guess here is that the team takes another step forward towards becoming a playoff contender in a tough road environment.
PREDICTION: Saints 31, Packers 14
Will Drew Brees play Fonzie to Brett Hundley's Potsie, and lead the Saints to a 4th straight win?
This poll is closed
Yes, New Orleans moves to 4-2
No, the Saints fall victim to a "trap game"