8:30 PM ET, October 26, 2014
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The two teams match up Sunday night in their first meeting since 2012.
Behind the play of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers (5-2) have rolled to four consecutive victories and erased the memories of their 1-2 start. Rodgers has thrown for 977 yards and 13 touchdowns without an interception during the win streak, and he posted the second-highest passer rating of his career -- 154.5 -- in last week's 38-17 rout of Carolina.
To his teammates, Rodgers' performance is nothing new.
"It's funny. I talk to old friends who have been here and are with other teams, and they don't really realize how good Aaron is until they go and play for someone else," guard Josh Sitton said. "It's hard to realize, I guess, when he's all I've known. I expect that week in and week out."
Jordy Nelson has been the primary beneficiary of Rodgers' success. Nelson ranks second in the NFL with 712 receiving yards -- only seven behind Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown -- and fourth in receiving touchdowns with six.
Teammate Randall Cobb is second in touchdowns with eight.
Green Bay's passing attack may be in store for another successful game, facing a Saints defense ranked 28th in passing yards allowed at 270.5 per game.
A loss Sunday would give the Saints (2-4) their worst seven-game start to a season under Sean Payton, who was suspended when they started 2-5. It would also match their loss total from last season, when they finished 11-5 and lost to Seattle in the divisional round.
Even with the poor start, however, the playoffs are still very much within reach since Carolina leads the NFC South at 3-3-1.
"That's a ton of football," Payton said. "Basically we're finished (with), I believe a third of the season, a little bit more than that. But the focus for us will be right on Green Bay."
New Orleans has allowed 27.5 points per game, ranking fifth-worst in the NFL, but the bigger concern is closing out games. The Saints squandered a fourth-quarter lead for the third time last week as Detroit rallied for two TDs in the final 3:38 of their 24-23 loss.
"We did a lot of good things and yet, we have to finish. We have to finish, especially today," Drew Brees said Sunday. "It's not like this thing was back and forth. We had a 13-point lead with however much time was left."
Brees completed 28 of 45 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a costly fourth quarter interception that led to Detroit's go-ahead score.
Wednesday, he shifted focus from the loss to the task of upending the Green Bay and the sixth-best passing defense in the NFL.
"Just know that when you got Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball, and that offense and the way that they execute, the way that they score points, it just makes you feel like you have to be that much more precise and execute that much better," said Brees, who is 2/3 versus the Packers despite throwing for 1,904 yards and 14 TDs with only two interceptions.
"Take advantage of every opportunity you get. All the details become that much more important."
Jimmy Graham didn't have a catch in the loss to Detroit. The tight end is still dealing with a shoulder injury that limited him in practice Wednesday.
The Packers edged the Saints 28-27 in their most recent meeting. Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns, but Rodgers threw a go-ahead touchdown to Nelson with seven minutes left.
"I would like to think our whole team clearly understands we're getting ready to go into a hotbox down there in New Orleans," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "I mean, this is going to be a big-time environment, big-time game. These are the kind of games you love to play in. Everybody wants to go get this one and get to 6-2, especially after where we were four weeks ago."
Green Bay leads the all-time series 16-7.
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New Orleans Saints
|Avg Points Allowed||5.5||3.3|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||GB|
|Rush Yds Allowed||GB|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|New Orleans leads 4-3|
|Sep 30, 2012||GB 28, NO 27|
|Sep 8, 2011||GB 42, NO 34|
|Nov 24, 2008||GB 29, @NO 51|
|Sep 17, 2006||GB 27, NO 34|
|Oct 9, 2005||GB 52, NO 3|
|Sep 15, 2002||GB 20, @NO 35|
Drew Brees faced five or more pass rushers on a season-high 46% of his dropbacks Sunday. Brees responded with 3 touchdowns against added pressure for the second time since the start of the 2008 season. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers threw his first interceptions against such pressure this season.[+]
QBs Passing vs 5+ Rushers Sunday
Randall Cobb has 66 yards after the catch, the most he has ever had in a half.
The Saints and Packers game last night featured no punts and no kickoff returns for either team. According to Elias, this was the first game in NFL history to have no punts and no kickoff returns. As far as strictly on the punting angle, this was the 3rd game in NFL history to not have any punts for either team and two of them have occurred this season, both involving the Packers. In Week 4, they and the Bears had no punts for the entire game. The other instance was Bills-49ers on September 13, 1992.
Drew Brees is 6-of-6 for 142 yards and 2 TD off of play action. He had 2 play-action TD all season coming into the game.
Aaron Rodgers had 203 passing yards in the first quarter against the Saints, the most he has ever had in a first quarter.
Drew Brees is 12-of-13 for 160 yards against four or fewer pass rushers (12.3 yards per attempt), but 4-of-8 for 27 yards against 5+ rushers (3.4 yards per attempt).
Mark Ingram had a career-high 92 yards after contact Sunday, 35 more than his previous high. His 92 yards after contact are the second most in a game this season (Gio Bernard, 104 vs Panthers). Ingram's rushing opened up play action for Drew Brees, who completed all 7 of his play-action attempts for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brees joins Ben Roethlisberger (also accomplished Sunday) as the only quarterbacks with 3 play-action touchdowns in a game this season.
ESPN Stats & Information