Preview: Saints at Packers
The Sports Xchange
Aaron Rodgers is sidelined with a broken collarbone, and that leaves all eyes on quarterback Brett Hundley when the Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Hundley will be making his first career start and must upgrade his play after throwing three interceptions in relief of the injured Rodgers in last Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.
Hundley has performed superbly in the preseason during his three years with the Packers, and he says the squad’s playoff aspirations shouldn’t take a hit with Rodgers lost for at least two months.
“Our goals haven’t changed, and they won’t,” Hundley told reporters. “Everything is in front of us, and we can still get to where we want to go to.”
The Saints have rattled off three straight wins after an 0-2 start, and quarterback Drew Brees sees things falling into place.
“I think we’ve gotten better every week in certain ways,” Brees told reporters. “Obviously, we have some momentum. We like the direction that we are going. We understand the things that have happened these last three weeks that’ve allowed us to win.”
TV: noon, FOX.
RADIO: WDSM 710 AM
LINE: Saints -5.5. O/U: 47.5
ABOUT THE SAINTS (3-2)
Brees tossed his first two interceptions of the campaign and compiled a season-low 186 yards in last Sunday’s win over Detroit, but he has been superb this season with 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Running back Mark Ingram (284 yards) started slowly but revved up his game against the Lions with a season-best 114 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season.
The defense allows 23.2 points per game (21st in the NFL), but defensive end Cameron Jordan has registered five sacks as he looks to reach double digits for the third time in his career.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (4-2)
The chatter all week has been about Green Bay falling apart without Rodgers due to now having a novice at the helm, so Packers coach Mike McCarthy called for an end to the comparisons.
“I think it’s fair and realistic to not compare guys to Aaron,” McCarthy told reporters. “Aaron has the, in my opinion, complete skill set. There isn’t a throw in football he doesn’t make and he plays the game cerebrally on a high level. It’s important for Brett to run the offense and play it to our strengths.”
Second-year inside linebacker Blake Martinez (team-best 48 tackles) has excelled, but the defense has struggled against the run as it is allowing 119.8 yards per game (24th in NFL).
1. The Packers hold a 16-8 series advantage, but the Saints won the most recent meeting 44-23 in 2014.
2. Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson (25 receptions, 290 yards) is tied for the NFL lead with six touchdown receptions.
3. New Orleans WR Willie Snead IV (hamstring) made his season debut last Sunday and had one reception after totaling 141 over his first two NFL campaigns.
Packers Player Watch
**Rodgers was placed on injured reserve by the Packers on Friday. Though the Packers place Rodgers on IR, they still could bring him back after eight weeks and give him a chance to return for the Week 15 game at Carolina on Dec. 17. Rodgers underwent surgery to repair his broken right collarbone on Thursday. He was injured in the first quarter of last Sunday's 23-10 loss at Minnesota after taking a hard hit from Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.
**RT Bryan Bulaga cleared the NFL's concussion protocol on Friday and could play against the Saints.
**LT David Bakhtiari (hamstring) was able to practice on a limited basis Friday and could play Sunday.
PREDICTION: Saints 26, Packers 17.