Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints – NFL, Week 1 (2021)

By Dan Vasta in NFL
| September 7, 2021 11:17 am PDT

The season opener should be a fun one between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. This game has been moved from New Orleans to Jacksonville due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Aaron Rodgers would typically prepare for a matchup against Drew Brees. After retiring, the gig now belongs to Jameis Winston. Winston beat out Taysom Hill for the starting position, though Hill should still see the field a decent amount.

Hill has been in all sorts of formations under head coach Sean Payton. Payton is entering his 15th season with the Saints, and the offensive weapons should be productive enough to keep them competitive in the NFC South.

The Packers are the main storyline in the final season for Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams together – or at least, that is what most believe. Rodgers is the reigning MVP and is coming off one of the best seasons of his career.

If somehow the franchise falls short of another Super Bowl, frustration and disappointment will sum it up for the Packers. Matt LaFleur has the pieces and has done well overall, but the postseason expectations are lofty.

This game should be a great opener so, let’s discuss the keys to victory for Green Bay and New Orleans in this NFC contest.

Packers vs. Saints Odds

Green Bay (-4.5)-115
New Orleans (+4.5)-105
Over 50.5-110
Under 50.5-110

The Packers will be favored in most of their games this season through most sports betting sites, and they enter as a slight road favorite in week one.

In games with Green Bay favored by less than five points on the road, they are 9-11 going back to 2014.

New Orleans is 5-0-1 in their last five home games in which they are getting 4.5 points or fewer. That is a pretty remarkable nugget, but keep in mind this is not in the Superdome.

The Saints have had an exceptional defense in recent memory, but they will have their hands full defending Aaron Rodgers. It is time to discuss this Sunday evening primetime matchup between the Packers and Saints.

Why the Packers Win

Aaron Rodgers is the top player in the league according to many experts, and his ability to orchestrate an offense is remarkable. His arm strength at the age of 37 is overly impressive, while his pocket presence and ability to extend plays when he rolls out often wins games.

Rodgers will face a more challenging schedule, and many doubt they can capture the top seed in the league. Davante Adams was unstoppable last season and will post high numbers when Green Bay has the ball towards the goal-line.

The Saints have been torched by this pair before, and the defensive backs are a concern.

The route running is what separates Adams from most number one wideouts, but the offense remained balanced for the majority of Rodgers’ career. Aaron Jones is fully capable of hitting the home-run ball, and he can produce out of the backfield as both a runner and pass-catcher.

As long as the Packers have a healthy Jones, this offense is complete. AJ Dillon has proven to be a great backup thus far in his career, but the role players made strides last season.

Robert Tonyan, Marques Valdez-Scantling, and Allen Lazard are coming off their best seasons thus far. Rodgers can make any average joe look great, but the trio has been productive enough to put Green Bay towards the top of the NFL.

Why the Saints Win

Jameis Winston is capable of running the offense with success. Winston cut down his turnovers in the preseason, but he will have to do the same in the NFL if they expect to be a threat in this game.

The main reason why the Packers could be in trouble is due to defending Alvin Kamara. Kamara had a career game last season against Green Bay. That was without Michael Thomas, and there have been plenty of chances for Kamara to get accustomed to carrying this offense.

Kamara hauled in 13 receptions for 139 yards to go along with two receiving touchdowns. He ran for 58 yards on six carries, as well.

The numbers have been exceptional by Kamara thus far in his career, and his health is vital towards the team. As long as he is going off on the opposition, New Orleans will hang with Green Bay and most top NFC challengers.

Packers vs. Saints Prediction

New Orleans won’t have their usual advantage of playing in the dome since this is at Jacksonville.

The Packers are the pick to win in this one.

Rodgers isn’t coming back to have a disastrous season a year after he won the MVP. There are stars on this team, and they will dissect the New Orleans secondary.

Winston will make some throws that keep the Saints in the game, but Green Bay gets a few key stops on third down to allow Rodgers to carry this team towards a victory in their season opener.

Packers vs. Saints Pick

Green Bay is less than touchdown favorites in this matchup, and I love their chances.

Most sportsbooks should have a money line when game day arrives, but the spread is hard to resist. The Packers have a more challenging schedule, but it doesn’t pick up until late October.

Feel confident with the Packers in a neutral-site game laying less than a touchdown against a team that isn’t making the playoffs. Rodgers is ready for a great season.

Pick
  • Green Bay (-4.5)
    -115

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