LH: Jordan Love has exceeded my and probably many others' expectations so far this season. What is one thing that you think he’s excelled at so far and what’s one thing you want to see him improve on for the rest of the season?
JM: I think the best thing he has done so far is his ability to manipulate defenses with his eyes. He really does some advanced stuff to linebackers and safeties. The biggest room for improvement is just the overall consistency. I’m sure it will come, but about one of five plays just ends up having some sort of learning lesson for him.
LH: Do you think Christian Watson will play this week? And how do you think the Packers wide receivers will fare against the Saints cornerbacks that have done a good job locking up receivers so far this year?
JM: Gut check: No. Hamstrings are so tricky that I wouldn’t guess anyone is playing through one unless he suits up every day of the week. He missed Thursday’s practice, so I’d bet no. The Packers have done some really interesting things to get receivers open in his absence, though, like using full-speed motion to get receivers into stacks and bunches to break a defense’s rules. It’s pretty hard to check into an offense that is going full speed like that before the snap.
LH: Combined, the Packers RB’s are averaging just 3.1 YPC through two weeks. Obviously if Aaron Jones plays that number will go up, but do you expect the Packers to find more success on the ground or is that a legit area of concern for y’all both this week and for the rest of the season?
JM: That is a massive cause for concern. If it’s not Aaron Jones, I don’t think anyone expected to get much out of the running backs. There’s a reason why the Packers were in the Jonathan Taylor conversation. I wouldn’t be surprised if AJ Dillon saw the vast majority of snaps in this game, but Patrick Taylor looked like the Packers’ best back — assuming that Jones doesn’t play.
LH: Lucas Van Ness already has two TFL, two pressures and a sack in 33 pass rush snaps. How would you evaluate his performance so far this season and how do you see him performing against the Saints offensive line that has struggled protecting the passer?
JM: He’s played well, but he’s in a five-man rotation at outside linebacker right now. That’s probably Green Bay’s strongest group on their roster. Preston Smith is a starter, while Lukas Van Ness, Kingsley Enagbare and Justin Hollins rotate in opposite of him on base downs. On third and fourth downs, Rashan Gary — who is recovering from an ACL tear — comes off the bench to rush the passer. Gary has been really good this year, along with nose tackle Kenny Clark.
LH: DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Packers at -1.5 for this game. Do you think the Packers will cover, and what’s your final score prediction for this game?
JM: I’m gonna guess the Packers win and cover, just because I have questions about the Saints’ offensive line and backfield. I do worry that the game will be really low scoring, though, with how good New Orleans’ defense is. Maybe I would take the under over any other gambling option. I’ll say it’ll end in a 20-17 score.
Thank you again to Justis for doing this interview and giving us some insight on the Packers before Sunday’s game. You can check out all of Justis work here.
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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.