Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints Week 1 Predictions: Against the Spread, Total, and Props
With the Saints winning their division each of the last four years and the Packers going to the Conference Championship the past two seasons, NFC fans have become familiar with these two organizations.
After a long offseason of will he or won’t he come back, Aaron Rodgers has finally returned for what will likely be his final season at the helm of the Green Bay Packers. As for the Saints, for the first time in 15 years, they aren’t going to be led by Drew Brees.
Jameis Winston will be taking over the helm on an otherwise loaded roster. Can he prove that he can keep the Saints at contender level, or will it be Aaron Rodgers proving that he and the Packers are still the true threat out of the NFC?
New Orleans Saints Preview
With Michael Thomas likely out for four months, the Saints have a question mark at the WR position. Is Marquez Callaway’s preseason for real, and can Trequan Smith finally be consistent at the NFL level? These are questions that the Saints are going to need to be answered sooner rather than later, and if they want to have a chance on offense, these are going to have to turn into yeses.
With Jameis Winston at the helm now, the offense is going to look different. Yes, he can get the ball down the field, shown by his 8.2 Y/A the last time he was a starter in 2019, but we also saw Jameis throw a whopping 30 interceptions when he started 16 games.
He will have to cut down on the turnover numbers significantly in 2021, and the best way to do that would be to feature a heavy dose of Alvin Kamara. Kamara averaged 5.0 Y/A for 932 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground last year. In addition, he added 756 yards and 5 touchdowns in the receiving game, making him a QB’s best friend.
Last year, the Saints were fifth in team defense, allowing just 21.1 points per game last season and finishing eighth in sacks. They lost both Trey Hendrickson and Sheldon Rankins in free agency but defensively should hold up more than fine, especially with their secondary.
Green Bay Packers Preview
One last ride. That’s the theme of the 2021 season in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is back but will likely move on after the season, so Matt LaFleur has a ton of pressure on him, especially after his coaching decisions in last year’s NFC title game.
They reunited Rodgers with familiar face Randall Cobb and seem to be trying to make nice with the veteran QB after a few offseasons of questionable decisions in a row. Although, one can absolutely point to the rookies at center and right guard as question marks for the 2021 season.
Can a team with Super Bowl aspirations survive with a second and fourth-round rookie starting on the interior?
On the other side of the ball, the Packers should get their success when it comes to rushing the passer. With Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith on the edge and Jaire Alexander on the outside locking up teams’ number one receiver, Green Bay has their recipe defensively.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Predictions
In 2020, Green Bay was one of the more productive teams against the spread. They were 11-7, including the playoffs ATS, covering 61.1% of the time. While not as effective, New Orleans still went 10-8, covering 55.6% of the time.
Since 2019, the Pack is 5-4 ATS as road favorites while the Saints are 1-1 as home dogs over that same period.
Last year when these two teams played, the Packers won by a touchdown 37-30 on the road. Allen Lazard went off last year with six catches for 146 yards and a score with Davante Adams out of the lineup.
Perhaps from a props perspective, look for Adams to have a big day as Rodgers’ number one target. The Packers should cover the 4.5 point spread as well, despite the Saints having a good defense. Instead, the question is if Jameis Winston is good enough to go punch for punch against the league’s best. That is not a bet I would be willing to place.