The NFL season is almost upon us. Week 1 will kick off September 9th when the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hosting the Dallas Cowboys. While that will be a fun matchup, the Bucs’ NFC South rival New Orleans Saints may be taking part in the best matchup of the week against the Green Bay Packers.
The Saints will be hosting the Packers in Week 1. They will be looking to exact some revenge on the Packers, who defeated them last season in Week 3, 37-30. But, this time around, things will look a lot different.
Drew Brees won’t be under center for this one, as he retired in the offseason. Also, the game won’t be held at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans because of the damage done by Hurricane Ida. It will instead take place in Jacksonville.
No matter where the game is played, we should get a good one between two of the better teams in the NFC. What can we expect to see? Here are three things to watch for in Week 1 from the Saints in their matchup with the Packers.
3. Can The Defense Slow Down Aaron Rodgers?
This is a question that every team will be trying to answer throughout the season. Despite some uncertainty about his future with the team, Aaron Rodgers is ready to assume his role as starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Figuring out a way to slow down this explosive offense is easier said than done. Green Bay upgraded the supporting cast around him this offseason, as Randall Cobb was brought back and Amari Rodgers was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They will join Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard.
Aaron Jones is one of the best running backs in the league and the Packers will be using A.J. Dillon to also help set the tone on the ground.
This isn’t a team you want your defense easing into the regular season against, as New Orleans will have their hands full with one of the best offensive teams in the NFL.
2. Who Emerges As No. 1 Option In Passing Game
The New Orleans Saints are going to have a lot of unfamiliar faces catching passes in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. Veterans Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook are both gone. Michael Thomas is injured and we won’t see him for a few weeks.
That leaves Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith as the first two options at wide receiver. At tight end, Adam Trautman has received a lot of hype throughout the offseason, but he may not be healthy enough to suit up. Intriguing pass-catching tight end/wide receiver hybrid Juwan Johnson could see snaps as a result.
The Packers have some talent defensively, but they have yet to find a player to operate opposite of Jaire Alexander. New Orleans will test whoever starts opposite of him throughout the game, they just need someone to step up to do it. Callaway is a good bet to be the one that accomplishes that feat.
1. New Starting Quarterback, Jameis Winston
For the first time since 2005, there will be someone other than Drew Brees starting at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Jameis Winston will get the first crack at replacing him as the starter.
Winston earned the job with a strong offseason. He performed well during his preseason appearances and could help improve the Saints’ offense. Brees was wonderful in his prime, but his lack of arm strength was certainly a hindrance toward the end of his playing days.
Winston will step into the lineup with a big arm and a chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove he can still be a franchise quarterback in this league after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved on from him.
Week 1 against a contender in the Green Bay Packers is a great time for Winston to set the tone for the regular season.