The New Orleans Saints have a unique opportunity approaching them in Week 7. The Saints (3-2) travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers (4-2) at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX. But the normally high-powered offense of the Packers is without quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the near future with a collarbone injury. This leads the door open for the Saints to pick up their fourth win and be in a strong position in the NFC South.
Rodgers made up over 70% of the Packers offense with his 1385 passing yards and 13 touchdowns in six games. Now that he is gone, the load falls on third year quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley threw for 157 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in relief of Rodgers last week. He will get his first NFL start against the Saints defense, who had three defensive touchdowns of their own against the Lions last week.
That is the good side of the defense for the Saints. They had two interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown. However, the defense did give up 28 second half points to the Lions and almost let them back into the game. But there are improvements to the defense since Week 1. After giving up the big lead, the Saints defense held strong and had an interception return for a touchdown in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. With that, the defense still has a long road to becoming consistently good each week. But forcing turnovers in key situations goes a long way in having a solid defense and beating the Packers this week.
A big question going into last week was how would the running game would change with running back Adrian Peterson being traded to Arizona. The result was a big day for running back Mark Ingram and the Saints rushing for their largest total of the season. Ingram had 114 yards on the ground with two touchdowns, his first two of the season. Overall the Saints had 193 yards on the ground, well over their 114 yards per game average. Now the Saints must carry that same production over to their game against the Packers.
Green Bay on the season has had a solid running defense, giving up 120 yards per game and five total touchdowns to running backs. Linebacker Clay Matthews is the leader of that Packers defense and must be marked on every play. If he is not picked up on running plays, both Ingram and fellow running back Alvin Kamara will have a tough time trying to break containment. But what we have seen from the first six games, is both Ingram and Kamara can make an impact on the offense outside of running the ball.
Brett Hundley is a solid backup quarterback. And he will likely keep the Packers afloat for the next couple of weeks. But he is no Aaron Rodgers, and the offense for the Packers will struggle on Sunday. And Hundley will be out-matched at the quarterback position. Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints should be able to put up a lot of points, as they have done all season. Especially if the Saints defense can get stops and set up drives for Brees and the offense. Expect the Saints to pick up their fourth win in a row on Sunday.
Prediction: Saints get on top early and the defense finishes strong, 34-14
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