Are you ready for some football? Week one of the NFL kicks off Sunday with an interesting matchup in the NFC as the New Orleans Saints host the Green Bay Packers. The Saints went 12-4 last season and lost in the playoffs to the Buccaneers in the second round of the playoffs, but they begin as a new era with the retirement of Drew Brees. The Packers went 14-4 a year ago and lost to the Bucs in the NFC championship game. The Packers are 4 point favorites Sunday with the over-under set at 49.5.
This game will be played in Jacksonville instead of the Superdome due to the effects of Hurricane Ida.
Saints begin new era with questionsThe New Orleans Saints had another good season last year that came to another disappointing end. they finished 12-4 in the regular season and won their first-round playoff game, but then bowed out in the second round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. The Saints begin a new era without their Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees, who retired after last season. The reigns will be handed over to Jameis Winston, a quarterback that has had some success in this league with the Bucs. The truth is, Brees had noticeably deteriorated last year so this is not a downgrade at this point. But the Saints have some other issues to contend with.
While their running game remains intact with All-Pro Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray leading the way, the receiver corps will miss Michael Thomas, who remains out and will probably miss the first few weeks. That makes Tre Quan Smith their leading receiver and he will be alongside names like Marquez Callaway, Lil Jordan Humphrey, Deonte Harris, Chris Hogan, and tight end Adam Trautman. These are all young, largely unproven players.
The defense was great last year, ranking 5th in points allowed and 4th in total yards allowed. But they lost several key players including Trey Hendrickson, Malcolm Brown, Sheldon Rankins, Kwon Alexander, and Janoris Jenkins. Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan, and Demario Davis lead the group of returning players. Also, the Saints replenished their defense through the draft, taking defensive players with their first three picks, including first-round draftee Payton Turner, a defensive end from Houston. Cornerback Ken Crawley is listed as questionable for the opener.
Packers should be in the mix once againThe last time we saw the Green Bay Packers, they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game. After an offseason where superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a game show host and cast doubt on whether he would return to Green Bay, Rodgers is back and the Packers are once again among the favorites in the NFC. Rodgers is coming off an MVP season in 2020, but he'll be 38 in a few months, so you have to wonder how long he can play at this level. The Packers made a few additions, but generally, they brought back all of the key players from the team that went 14-4 last year.
Rodgers leads the offense and they have one of the best running backs in the game in Aaron Jones with new pickup AJ Dillon as his back up. The receiving corps is led by Davante Adams, one of the best in the game, along with Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and new pickups Randall Cobb and Devin Funchess also in the fold. they also have an excellent tight end in Robert Tonyan. The O-line is solid, although all-pro David Bakhtiari will be out to start the season. The Packers' defense was much better last year, ranking 13th in points allowed and 9th in total yards. First-round draft pick cornerback Eric Stokes should help an improving defense, led by linemen Kenny Clark, Za'Darius Smith, and defensive back Jaire Alexander.
Smith, safety Vernon Scott, and defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster are among those who are questionable for week one.
- Saints are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 1.
- Packers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games in September.
- Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in Week 1.
- Packers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.