Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints NFL Match Preview and Prediction
Football is finally back, and there aren’t many matchups better than Thursday’s game between Green Bay and New Orleans.
The Saints will open up the season on Thursday night for the second consecutive year, having won last year’s 2010 NFC Championship game rematch over the Vikings in a low-scoring 14-9 affair.
The Green Bay Packers finished last season at 10-6, and their incredible Super Bowl run began as the final wild card team, and the number 6 seed in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints were 11-5, and were the fifth wild card team out of the NFC. The Saints had a heartbreaking loss to the under .500 Seattle Seahawks in round 1 of the NFL playoffs 41-36. Both teams will be featuring some players who weren’t playing in the last year’s playoffs. The Saints drafted stud rookie running back Mark Ingram who will get quite a bit of playing time in the opener, while the Packers are getting back their running back Ryan Grant, who was injured last season and missed their entire playoff run.
But a tumultuous offseason has finally given rise to this star-studded NFL season opener at Lambeau, with Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers taking on Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
“It’s great to be able to celebrate the return of football. It was a rough offseason with the lockout,” Rodgers said. “The fans, I’m sure, were wondering if there was going to be football.”
The lockout created a mad scramble among the league’s 32 teams to get ready for 2011. Those teams are all targeting Green Bay after Rodgers guided the franchise to its fourth Super Bowl title by throwing for nine touchdowns and 1,094 yards in the Packers’ four-game postseason run.
“We’re a confident bunch,” wide receiver James Jones said. “We truly don’t pay attention to who everybody gets, we truly don’t care who everybody gets. We believe when we step on that field we’re going to win the game, no matter who it is.”
Coach Mike McCarthy is dealing with a new set of distractions for his defending champions, starting with the NFL’s mammoth pregame concert with Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum and Maroon 5 — stars not usually associated with small-town Green Bay.
While the Packers are the defending champions, the Saints still have Drew Brees and one of the best coaches in the NFL. I see this game being close throughout, with the only edge going to the Packers due to them playing on their home field. Both quarterbacks are going to have great games, and it’ll come down to a field goal to end the game. I’m taking the Green Bay Packers to win outright.
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