NEW ORLEANS (0-3) at GREEN BAY (1-2)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX
OPENING LINE: Packers by 7
RECORD VS. SPREAD: New Orleans 0-3; Green Bay 1-2
SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 15-7
AP PRO32 RANKING: Saints No. 27; Packers No. 7
LAST MEETING: Packers beat Saints 42-34, Sept. 8, 2011
THE PREVIEW: Through three weeks, 2,287 points have been scored, an all-time high. Yet these two normally potent offenses have struggled.
Yes, Drew Brees can tie John Unitas' record of 47 straight games with a TD pass if he gets one against the Packers, and he might need a few to get the Saints their first victory if Green Bay's dormant passing attack awakens. Clearly, the suspensions of coach Sean Payton and his interim replacement, Joe Vitt, for the bounty scandal have hurt the Saints.
"For us, despite what's happened this offseason and the circumstances that we've been put under, all we can worry about is the guys that we do have in the locker room, as coaches and players, the scheme that we're running, trusting in, trusting in our preparation, and then going out there and finding a way to go win games," Brees said.
Green Bay found the most painful and mystifying way to lose last Monday night at Seattle, on what was the final decision by the replacement officials. Coach Mike McCarthy doesn't want his players looking back at the TD awarded to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate even though Packers safety M.D. Jennings seemed to have the ball.
"Our experience the last couple of days has been different, unique," McCarthy said. "You can't deny that or throw it off to the side. I think it would be foolish. As far as my comments and my direction with the team, it's the same as it always is. They know exactly how I feel about everything that has happened and everything about the path forward that we're taking."
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: Packers must shake off crushing MNF loss to Seahawks on disputed last-second replacement referee call. ... Saints have won three of past five meetings. ... QB Drew Brees has touchdown pass in 46 consecutive games and can tie longest streak in NFL history, held by Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas with 47. ... In four starts vs. Green Bay, Brees has 1,458 yards passing (364.5 per game), 11 TDs and two INTs. Has 300-plus yards and two-plus TDs in all four games. ... In last meeting, Darren Sproles had 250 yards combined with a 72-yard punt return for a TD. Since 2011, Sproles leads NFL RBs with 104 receptions. ... TE Jimmy Graham had a TD in last meeting with Packers and is aiming for TD in seventh game in row. ... Saints offense ranks first in NFC with a 70 percent TD rate in red zone. ... Since 2006, S Roman Harper has 17 sacks, most by a DB. .... QB Aaron Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards with three TDs vs. no INTs in last meeting. ... RB Cedric Benson rushed for two TDs in last game vs. New Orleans, Dec. 5 2010 with Cincinnati. ... WR Greg Jennings aims for fourth game in row vs. New Orleans with TD. ... WR/RS Randall Cobb had 108-yard kick return for touchdown in last year's game vs. Saints, tied for longest in NFL history. Cobb leads NFC with 15.4 punt return average and is only NFC player with punt return for TD. ... Packers pass defense leads NFL allowing 125.3 yards per game. Total defense is second in NFC and third in NFL, allowing 261 yards per game. OLB Clay Matthews leads NFL with six sacks. ... Rookie OLB Nick Perry had first career sack last week.
PACKER REPORT PREDICTION (3-0): Judging by the atmosphere at practice this week, the Packers appear to have put last week’s loss behind them. The Saints rank 32nd in defense, which will be a welcome relief for the Packers, who struggled against Seattle (No. 4), Chicago (No. 6) and San Francisco (a surprisingly low No. 11). The Saints can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass, can’t pressure the quarterback, can’t turn over the ball and can’t get off the field. It all adds up a must-win victory. Final: Packers 34, Saints 24.