Sunday, September 30, 2012

Packers vs. Saints preview: who needs the win more?

After having victory stolen from them on Monday night by the ineptitude of replacement referees and NFL greed, the Green Bay Packers return to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field today knowing that at least the regular referees will be overseeing the game between themselves and the New Orleans Saints. That doesn't guarantee a victory or that there won't be blown calls. But the likelihood of there being a debacle like that experienced in Seattle has decreased dramatically.

Thank you, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for finally seeing the light. That light would be the oncoming train -- as in wreck -- brought about by you and the team owners' greed in negotiating with the refs. You sacrificed the integrity of the game and the won-loss record of the Packers on the altar of "more money for us, less for you." (OK, OK, enough venting...for now...)

Back to today's game...The Packers are 1-2 while the Saints are 0-3. Both teams desperately need the win, although as radio voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, pointed out this week during a radio interview, the Packers did win the Seattle game, they were just not awarded the victory. Favored by 7-1/2 points today, the Packers have yet to get their high-powered offense into gear. By the end of the first quarter of the 2012 season, it's about time things get cooking, don't you think? After being embarrassed in Seattle in the first half with eight sacks given up, the offensive line will have something to prove. The entire unit does. And with a so-so Saints defense coming to town, now would be a good time to start.

The Packers defense has been playing better than expected during the first three games of the season. They should be able to get a pass rush today on Drew Brees. But, as everyone knows, Brees can make a defense pay if given the chance. The Saints will get their points. In fact, it seems as if the oddsmakers think this will be a high-scoring game: the over-under is set at 53-1/2 points, the highest of any game this weekend.

I think -- OK, hope, actually -- the Packers may finally start clicking on offense, and I anticipate the defense to continue to develop and improve. Either the entire team will come out with a chip on its shoulder after having the Seattle win stripped away from them or it will limp along for the rest of the season as a result. I have to believe, with McCarthy as coach and Rodgers, Matthews, Driver, Woodson and others providing veteran leadership, that it will be the former rather than the latter.

I'm calling it 31-24 Packers over the Saints.

Go Pack Go!!!