Packers vs. Saints: Three things I'll be watching for
It's been an emotional and infuriating week for the Green Bay Packers and fans of the most storied franchise in the league. After a horse-sh** loss to the Seahawks on Monday night, the Packers will hope to put it all in the rearview mirror Sunday afternoon against the New Orleans Saints (0-3). Below are three things I'll be watching for.
We Are a Part of a Rhythm Nation
I don't think anyone expected the Packers high-powered offense to rank 26th in the league after three games. A variety of factors have worked against the Packers to start this season. They have faced talented defenses, have not had a consistently healthy group of weapons, and have suffered through the clunkiness of replacement officials. What I'll be watching for today is a dramatic turnaround. There appears to be a perfect storm brewing for the Packers offense. The Saints are allowing a whopping 34 points per game, all of Aaron Rodgers' weapons are healthy, and the replacement officials are a thing of the past.
The Big and the Small of it
Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles are two of the most unique offensive players in all of the NFL.
Graham, the Saints 6'7" freak-show, is the best receiving tight end in the game today. Bar none. He's scored a touchdown in each of the Saints three games this season.
Sproles, the 5'6" running back/kick returner is a jitterbug who is as deadly in space as any player in the league.
What I'll be watching to see is how the Packers choose to cover Graham and Sproles. Can the Packers afford to bracket cover Graham? There isn't a linebacker on the Packers roster that can hang with Jimmy, and there isn't a defensive back that has Graham's size. Jimmy likes his chicken spicy. I assume Sproles does too. His quickness and elusiveness is incredibly difficult to simulate in practice.
The Real Deal
I referenced the officiating above, and how it could be key to the Packers showcasing the rhythm we've come to expect. What I'll be watching to see is how effective the Packers no-huddle offense is with a regular officiating crew. I think the regular officials will allow for a much smoother pace, and the Packers offense will be the beneficiary. I'm also curious to see what sort of reception Packers fans give the regular officials, and how long the honeymoon lasts.