After a crushing loss to the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, the Green Bay Packers look to bounce back in their home opener against the 2-0 New Orleans Saints this Sunday. The big matchup will be between each team’s strengths: Green Bay’s offense against the Saints’ defense.
Last week, Green Bay’s offense froze in the fourth quarter. Jordan Love did not complete a pass in the final 15 minutes. Jessie Bates III blanketed Romeo Doubs, who only caught two passes for 30 yards.
Doubs caught four passes for 26 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, but Atlanta effectively defended him. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how he will play against the New Orleans defense, considering that they are allowing 16 points per game.
Neither the Tennessee Titans’ nor the Carolina Panthers’ offense are anything special. However, their defense has talent, especially the secondary.
Marshon Lattimore is still one of the best defensive backs in the league, making his matchup with Doubs intriguing.
If the Packers rule Christian Watson out for Sunday’s game, New Orleans will match Lattimore up on Doubs. If Watson is healthy, look for him to switch from one guy to the other based on the situation. Paulson Adebo and Alontae Taylor are the other guys who may match up with Doubs or Watson. Don’t forget that they also have Tyrann Mathieu, who’s still effective at 31, at free safety.
As far as the rushing game goes, the Packers need to run the ball more in the second half against the Saints. Last week, AJ Dillon had 15 carries for 55 yards, but he didn’t receive a lot of touches in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.
The Packers may have abandoned the running game because Aaron Jones is out with a hamstring injury. If Jones is healthy for Sunday, then expect a full dose of the running game. If they rule Jones out, they should still run the ball with Dillon later in the game to set the tone.
Looking at the Saints’ defense, Marshon Lattimore defended Deandre Hopkins well in their Week 1 matchup with the Titans. Hopkins had seven catches for 65 yards, but Lattimore didn’t give him much space.
There was one play during that game where Hopkins put Lattimore on his ankles with a very nice route.
The clip above highlights that Lattimore’s weakness right now could be adjusting to fakes on routes. Can Doubs and Watson exploit that? Granted, we are only in the third week of the NFL season, so there are still a lot of unknowns.
Outside of Lattimore, Paulson Adebo had one pass breakup, and he also had an interception against Tennessee. Against Carolina, he had three solo tackles and a fumble recovery. If Watson does not play, he’ll probably match up with Jayden Reed or Dontayvion Wicks.
Jayden Reed had two touchdowns against the Falcons, and Wicks scored in the second half after breaking a tackle.
Alontae Taylor is the other defensive back to watch out for in New Orleans. He had four tackles and a pass breakup against the Titans. Taylor also had five solo tackles against the Panthers, two of them for losses, and another pass breakup.
If Christian Watson plays on Sunday, look for Lattimore to switch between him and Doubs throughout the game. Paulson Adebo should take the opposite side from Lattimore, which means he will also match up against Watson and Doubs. Taylor will be their slot corner and will cover Reed.
But if the Packers rule Watson out on Sunday, Lattimore will cover Doubs for most of the game. Adebo and Taylor will most likely switch between Reed and Wicks. Tyrann Mathieu will probably match up with Luke Musgrave for most of the game.
New Orleans is a massive test for Green Bay’s offense. They have looked pretty good over the first two games without Aaron Rodgers. However, if they can get a win at home against a good defense and a 2-0 team, it will give them momentum heading into October.