Monday, November 24, 2008

Packers vs Saints preview

Hope you all enjoyed your day off from Packers football yesterday. If you're like me, though, somehow it seems to all get out of sync with no Sunday game. Sure, there are other games to watch. Like many folks, I checked occasionally on the Jets game to see how ol' #4 was doing. He done good, as he himself might say. The Jets halted the Titans' unbeaten streak. Some folks are actually starting now to suggest the possibility of a Giants-Jets Super Bowl. As boring as that might be for many beyond the East Coast, there are quite a few Packers fans who would love to see it. Firstly, for seeing Brett in the Big Game again. And, secondly, because if the Jets get to the Super Bowl the Packers wind up getting a first round draft pick in compensation for Favre. Go Brett Go!!!

Oh sure, we were also able to watch or at least catch the scores of other games that matter. Da Bearz and ViQueens, sadly, both won, and are again tied atop the Division. The Packers need to win tonight in order to stay even.

So, what do we know? Firstly, that the spread has gone from about 2-1/2 points in favor of the Saints this weekend down to 1 point now. We also know that the Saints ain't the 'aints any more. With Drew Brees at the helm, they have the #1 rated offense in the NFL, rolling up over 400 yards per game. Still, at 5-5, the Saints are sitting at the bottom of their division, 3 games behind leaders Tampa Bay and Carolina and 2 behind Atlanta. Kind of ironic, isn't it, that going into this weekend that same record would tie them for the lead in the NFC North? So it goes.

With such a high-powered offense how is that they are bottom-feeding? Only winning one of five road games will do that to you. As will only having a +17 point total scoring differential versus your opponents after 10 games. In that stat category, the Pack have a +65 point differential versus opponents; only six other teams in the entire NFL have a better point differential than the Pack. In fact, the Packers have actually outscored the Saints 274 to 266. So who's got the high-flying offense? Hmmm. Just as importantly, the Pack have held opponents to 209 points over their 10 games. The Saints, by contrast, have given up 40 more points than the Packers, 249 overall.

So, looking at those stats, offensively and defensively, the Packers should come out on top. But you have to play the game, right? And if the Packers play the way they did last weekend against Da Bearz, the result should be equally as good. Don't expect as much of a blow out, though. After all, the Saints do have an offense. The best defense -- other than the Pack's top-notch defensive backfield, that is -- would be to keep the Saints offense, including RB Reggie Bush who is expected to play this evening, on the bench. That also means keeping the Pack's newly-revitalized ground game churning as much as possible to eat up the clock. Also, protecting Aaron Rodgers as well as they did last week.

There may be more to discuss here prior to kickoff. But just in case, let's make our call right now: Packers 30 - Saints 24.

Go Pack Go!!!