We’ll continue a series of opponent preview posts for the New Orleans Saints opponents in 2020. Next, we’ll look at the highly-anticipated matchup of future hall of fame quarterbacks, Brees and the Saints against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Our friends over at Acme Packing Company took some time to give us Saints fans the scoop on the team of A-A-Ron.
Week 3: vs the Green Bay Packers
Notable free agent additions:
ILB Christian Kirksey, RT Rick Wagner, WR Devin Funchess
10 wins — Push. The Packers overachieved in 2019, going 13-3 but with an 8-1 record in one-score games. That suggests a team due for some regression. Even if the team is objectively better, they could well have a worse record, particularly with what looks to be a tougher schedule in 2020. However, this is still a squad with a young, ascending defense and very good top-end talent at all of the critical positions on the roster, so ten wins sounds about right.
Most exciting rookie:
Packers fans desperately wanted a wide receiver in this year’s draft, but the team didn’t take a single one. Instead, they moved up in the first round for a quarterback, Jordan Love, who won’t play for a year or two if all goes well. That leaves bruising running back AJ Dillon, the team’s second-round pick, as the most exciting prospect as a rookie in 2020.
Dillon is a hulking 6-foot and 247 pounds, but he’s not just a bruising power back; he posted one of the best overall workouts at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, and his quick feet belie that label. He should be an intriguing complement to Aaron Jones, and a good rookie season could convince the Packers not to pay the veteran next offseason when his contract runs out.
Position battle to keep an eye on:
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Who will catch the football? The Packers have a great WR1 in Davante Adams and a solid stable of running backs, but the tight ends and receivers behind Adams are all uncertainties. Allen Lazard had a nice second half in 2019, but can he maintain WR2 status? Devin Funchess arrives after missing almost all of last season to injury. There’s only one true deep threat in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but he became a complete afterthought by the end of last year. And can Equanimeous St. Brown, perhaps the most naturally gifted athlete of the group, rebound from missing 2019 with a high ankle sprain? At tight end, the team appears ready to make second-year pro Jace Sternberger the starter, despite his missing the first half of last year on injured reserve and not catching a single pass in the regular season. It’s up to Aaron Rodgers to figure out how to work with these young, unproven pass-catchers.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
The Packers have several critical players scheduled to become free agents in the spring of 2021. That list starts with defensive tackle Kenny Clark, the league’s best pass-rushing nose tackle, then moves on to David Bakhtiari, the best pass-blocking left tackle in the game. Running back Aaron Jones, center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King are all up as well, so the Packers will surely try to come to agreements on extensions with a couple of these players before they head into contract years.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
WRs Devin Funchess and Equanimeous St. Brown and linebacker Christian Kirksey are all coming off season-ending injuries last fall but appear to be ready to go for training camp.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Can the Saints beat Aaron Rodgers the Pack? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisDunnells.
How will the Saints fare against the Packers?
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