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Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts: Packers vs. Saints

Get in the know and ready to go with the ‘Fast Facts’
The Green Bay Packers game against the New Orleans Saints has been moved to Jacksonville.
The Green Bay Packers game against the New Orleans Saints has been moved to Jacksonville.(Stephen B. Morton | (Bkgd. AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton))
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:40 AM CDT
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Jacksonville, FL (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers get set to start the 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints (in Jacksonville, Florida) it’s time to get ready for kickoff with Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts.’

#1 Last Dance?: The offseason of uncertainty with Aaron Rodgers gave way to a possible Last Dance season when the reigning MVP returned to the Packers for training camp. With Over The Cap projecting Green Bay to be $49,182,656 over the cap ceiling next year and Rodgers set to count $46 million against that cap, something’s gotta give next offseason.

The Packers are set to see Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Allen Lazard all enter free agency next year to boot. Either Rodgers agrees to stay next year, signing a new long-term deal to spread out cap money for years and years to come, or the Packers will have to trade him. It’s simply untenable to bring Rodgers back for the final year of his current contract in 2022 (before his 2023 void year). Green Bay would have to completely scuttle the rest of the roster to make ends meet under the cap.

#2 Adams’ return to Jax: The last time the Packers played in Jacksonville, it was the 2016 opener. Davante Adams was coming off a drop-laden disappointing 2015 season in which he battled through an ankle injury. But Adams had a great TD catch that day and his career has been in an upward trajectory every since. Adams has caught 58 TD passes in the last 5 seasons. And his 18 scores last year have only been eclipsed in a single NFL season by Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. Adams is finally getting the full-blown respect he deserves. He received a 99 out of 100 rating on the Madden video game and was voted the top WR in the NFL by his peers, ranking #6 overall on the NFL’s ‘Top 100’ show. His return to Jacksonville has to bring back great memories of a fresh start in his career.

#3 Cobb’s 2nd Packers debut: Speaking of reminiscing, Randall Cobb has to be doing a lot of that this week. 10 years ago, as a rookie, Cobb scored 2 TD vs. the Saints in his first game with the Packers. Now he faces that same foe in his first game back with Green Bay. Both Cobb and Rodgers have to be itching to make this game memorable for themselves, yes, but also to prove to Brian Gutekunst that trading for Cobb was a good idea. The Packers’ GM admitted in camp that the only reason he made the move was to appease Rodgers.

#4 New-look Saints: Drew Brees’ retirement and Michael Thomas’ injury mean this Saints team will look a bit different. Starting QB Jameis Winston plays a far different game than Brees. Over the last several seasons, Brees ranked near the bottom of the league in depth of target with his throws down the field. Winston likes to drop back and throw bombs.

The All-Pro receiver Thomas set the NFL single-season catches record 2 years ago with 149. But the Packers didn’t have to face him last year due to injury, and won’t see him today either with Thomas on the P.U.P. list. One receiver to keep an eye on for New Orleans? Marques Callaway. That’s right, there are 2 Marquez wide receivers in this game. Callaway had 2 absolutely incredible TD catches in the the preseason against the Jaguars: a bomb catch amidst 2 defenders absorbing contact, and a 1-hand over-the-shoulder grab by the left pylon.

#5 Two rookies start on O line: The Packers gave up only 20 sacks of Rodgers in 16 games last season. But All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari starts this year on the P.U.P. list, forcing Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins to kick out to left tackle. With All-Pro Corey Linsley leaving in free agency, Green Bay will start rookie 2nd-round draft pick Josh Myers at center. And they will also start rookie Royce Newman at right guard. The Saints have to salivating at the opportunity to dial up exotic pressures against the two newbies and Jenkins playing at a new spot opposite star pass rusher Cam Jordan.

BONUS FACT: The Heat!: The last time the Packers were in Jacksonville, it was officially about 90 degrees for kickoff, but thermometers on the field registered temperatures near 120 degrees! It will be in the upper 80′s today. The heat is only amplified by stifling humidity. When Green Bay played here in 2016, an overmatched Jaguars team gave the Packers everything they wanted and more with the game coming down to the wire. The Saints won’t be the Packers’ only opponent today. The heat may be even tougher.

Prediction: Packers 31, Saints 28

As always tune in to Action 2 News at 10:00, Sunday Sports Night, and Cover 2 for the best postgame coverage in the business

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