The New Orleans Saints roll into Lambeau Field this weekend on a three-game winning streak to take on an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers was sent to injured reserve this week after breaking his collarbone in the Packers’ last game against the Minnesota Vikings. Backup quarterback Brett Hundley filled in for Rodgers and and threw for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against the Vikings defense. The Saints game will be his first career NFL start.
Meanwhile for the Saints, their last game against the Detroit Lions may have been a high-scoring affair, but Drew Brees was held to under 200 passing yards for the first time in four years. Despite Brees’ low numbers, the Saints defense still did its job and prevented Matthew Stafford and the Lions from making another miraculous fourth quarter comeback. It’s expected for them to have another big day against a Hundley-led Packers and continue their rise to the top.
While the Saints defense will play a major role into whether their team will win against the Packers or not, here are three other players that need to step up and help fill that role:
The second-year wide receiver hit over 80 yards in three of his last five games but hit a major roadblock against the Lions, having three catches for 11 yards and zero touchdowns. A bounce-back game against the Packers is almost inevitable, as their secondary has been depleted with injuries. Four of their cornerbacks have showed up on the injury report for this week, and this is more than good news for Thomas. If the Packers’ corners aren’t close to 100 percent by Sunday’s game, then they are in for a long afternoon trying to cover Thomas in time.
A surging defense is good enough for the Saints, but a surging Thomas playing at his best level makes the pot even more sweeter.
Just like Thomas, Snead had another tough outing against the Lions. He should still be able to do fairly well against the Packers, but that’s all on if he ends up playing in the game. Both Snead’s Wednesday and Thursday practices were limited due to the hamstring injury that prevented him from making his season debut in London against the Miami Dolphins.
When playing on the field against the Lions, however, it looked like Snead was able to move around more easily, even with his hamstring issues. More than likely, it was because of Snead only getting targeted three times and being in the lineup less than Thomas. If Snead plays Sunday against the Packers, he will definitely get another opportunity to start getting things going.
The reigning NFC Defensive Rookie of the Week can make his presence known once again in Green Bay. He had one of the Saints’ pick-sixes on Stafford, and he can possibly have a similar type of success against the Packers’ receiving corps. Expect to see a good matchup between Lattimore and either Randall Cobb or Davante Adams. Adams has come up big in critical moments this season, but Cobb has struggled quite a bit as a starter and has fallen into a slight slump.
Lattimore still has a long way to go, but he’s already showing some of those same qualities that define a shutdown corner. And that’s definitely sweet music in the ears of the Saints.
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