PACKERS-SAINTS OPEN SEASON IN JACKSONVILLE
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints will face off in Week 1 in Jacksonville, Fla., due to the damage caused to New Orleans by Hurricane Ida.
The Packers are 2-0 in Kickoff Weekend games against the Saints. Green Bay won the last season-opening matchup between the two teams, 42-34, on Sept. 8, 2011, when QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three TDs with a 132.1 QB rating to lead the Packers.
This will be the second time Green Bay has opened a season in Jacksonville, having previously beat the Jaguars, 27-23, in 2016. Overall, the Packers are 3-1 in Jacksonville, with both victories coming in the month of September.
Between the Packers and Saints, the winning team has scored 34-plus points in eight of the last 10 matchups, including 37 by the Packers in a victory last season at
New Orleans in Week 3.
Green Bay opens with two of the first three games on the road for the second straight season.
This marks the third straight year and the seventh time in the last nine seasons Green Bay has started the season on the road.
Entering 2021, Green Bay has the fourth-highest strength of schedule (.542, 147-124-1) and leads the league with the most games (10) against 2020 playoff teams. The
Packers face 10 teams who had a .500-or-better record in 2020, tied for the third most in the league.
WR Davante Adams enters Week 1 with a streak of six-plus receptions in each of his last 12 regular-season games. That is the second-longest streak in team history behind only WR Sterling Sharpe (13 in 1993- 94). Adams also has posted at least one TD catch in 10 of his last 11 regular-season games.
K Mason Crosby enters Week 1 with a streak of 18 consecutive FGs made, the third-longest streak in team history (Crosby, 23, 2010-11 / Crosby, 19, 2013-14).
The Packers will return to Green Bay next week to take on the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football, the first of three home prime-time games this season against division opponents (Week 14 vs. Chicago and Week 17 vs. Minnesota).
Green Bay has won 11 of its past 14 Kickoff Weekend games dating back to 2007.
The Packers have won six consecutive Kickoff Weekend games (2015-20), the longest streak in team history and tied with Kansas City for the longest active streak in the NFL. New Orleans has won two consecutive Kickoff Weekend games.
In those six games, QB Aaron Rodgers has completed 136 of 203 passes (67.0 pct.) for 1,552 yards and 14 TDs with just one INT (110.7 rating).
Green Bay’s 58 Kickoff Weekend wins are the most in the NFL.
The Packers’ .595 winning percentage (58-39-3) on Kickoff Weekend ranks No. 3 in the NFL, while the Saints’ .385 winning percentage (19-35) ranks No. 31.
Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay (4-0) and Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur (2-0) are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend.
Dating back to 2008, Green Bay is 10-3 in Week 1 games, tied for No. 2 in the NFL over that span (New England, 11-2, .846).
QB Aaron Rodgers has started every Week 1 game for the Packers since 2008, throwing for 27 touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 104.3 that ranks No. 2 among active quarterbacks (min. 50 pass att.) from 2008-2020 (Kansas City QB Partick Mahomes, 134.6), according to stathead.com.
Last season, Rodgers set his career best in passing TDs, passing yards, completions and tied his highest mark in attempts in a season opener. Rodgers threw for 364 yards (32 of 44), with four TDs and posted a QB rating of 127.5 in the Packers’ 43-34 win at Minnesota (9/13/20), which was also the most points Green Bay had scored in an opener with Rodgers under center.
Rodgers’ 364 passing yards was the most ever by a Packers QB in a season opener, surpassing the previous high of 333 yards, which was held by Lynn Dickey (1983), Brett Favre (1999) and Rodgers (2013).
WR Davante Adams’ 14 receptions in Week 1 last season at Minnesota was the most receptions ever by a Packer in a season opener, surpassing Vince Workman’s 12 receptions (1992), and tied for the most ever in a game by a Packer.
Adams’ 156 receiving yards ranks second all-time in Packers’ season openers, only behind Billy Howton’s 165 yards (1957). Adams, Howton, and James Lofton’s 154 yards (1983) are the only three receiving performances of over 150 yards in a season opener since 1950.
CB Jaire Alexander registered a sack, an interception and a safety in Week 1 of 2020 against Minnesota. He was the fifth NFL player to record a sack, interception and a safety in a single game since 2000.
LB Za’Darius Smith has registered a sack in each of the last four season openers (2017-20), joining Akiem Hicks and Chandler Jones as the only players in the league to do so over that span.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers at Saints:
All-time regular season: 17-9
All-time, at New Orleans: 7-6
Streaks: The teams have each registered five wins in their last 10 regular-season matchups
Last meeting, regular season: Sept. 27, 2020, Caesars Superdome, Packers won, 37-30
Last meeting, regular season, at New
Orleans: Sept. 27, 2020, Caesars Superdome, Packers won, 37-30
Matt LaFleur: 26-6-0, .813; (2-2 postseason); 3rd NFL season Sean Payton: 143-81, .638, (9-8 postseason); 15th NFL season Head to Head: LaFleur 1-0 vs. Payton vs. Opponent: LaFleur 1-0 vs. Saints; Payton 4-2 vs. Packers
MATT LaFLEUR…In his third season as the Packers’ 15th head coach.
In his 13th season in the NFL, having previously served as an offensive coordinator for two seasons (Los Angeles Rams, 2017; Tennessee Titans, 2018), a quarterbacks coach for six seasons (Washington Football Team, 2010-13; Atlanta Falcons, 2015-16), and an offensive assistant for two seasons (Houston Texans, 2008-09). u In his first two seasons leading the Packers, has authored one of the greatest starts to a head-coaching career in NFL history. For the second consecutive sea- son in 2020, led Green Bay to a 13-3 record and captured the NFC North crown while also earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the first time since 2011. It was just the second time in team history that the Packers had won 13-plus games in back-to- back seasons (13-3 in 1996 and 1997). u According to the Elias Sports Bureau, was the sixth head coach since 1970 to lead his team to the conference championship game in both of his first two seasons as a head coach, joining Jim Harbaugh (2011-12), Rex Ryan (2009-10), Barry Switzer (1994-95), George Seifert (1989-90) and Don McCafferty (1970-71). u Became just the second NFL head coach since the league went to a divisional format in 1967 to win 13-plus games and a division title in both of his first two seasons, joining Seifert (1989-90). In his first season leading the Packers in 2019, became the first coach in club history to lead the team to the playoffs in his debut season. Also led the largest one-year win improvement in team history (plus-seven wins).
SEAN PAYTON…Is in his 15th year as the Saints’ 14th head coach. Has led New Orleans to nine playoff appearances, six NFC South titles and the franchise’s first Super Bowl title following the 2009 season. In 2020, the Saints won the NFC South for the fourth straight season, posting a 12-4 record. They became the only team since the start of the NFC South in 2002 and since that season’s divisional realignment, only the third NFC franchise to capture four straight division titles.
Is the longest-tenured head coach in the NFC and trails only Bill Belichick of New England for the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL.
Has won nine postseason games with the Saints since taking over a franchise that had won just once in the postseason in the nearly 40 years prior to his arrival. Before joining New Orleans, he coached for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-05, serving as the assistant head coach/quarterbacks the first two years and the assistant head coach/passing game coordinator in his last year. Began his coaching career in the NFL as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997-98
and then coached for the New York Giants from 1999-2002, serving as the offensive coordinator his last three seasons.
THE PACKERS-SAINTS SERIES
These clubs launched their series in 1968, when former Vince Lombardi assistants Phil Bengston (Packers) and Tom Fears (Saints) met in Milwaukee. The Packers, one year after winning Super Bowl II, defeated the second-year Saints, 29-7. Fears, a Packers assistant for five seasons, was New Orleans’ first head coach.
Green Bay and New Orleans are tied for No. 3 in the NFL with a .639 regular-season winning percentage since 2008.
Green Bay and New Orleans last met in a season opener in 2011 at Lambeau Field, in the NFL’s season-opening kickoff game following the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl season. QB Aaron Rodgers passed for 312 yards and three TDs and Green Bay’s defense made a goal-line stand on the game’s final play to win, 42-34.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
Sept. 27, 2020, Caesars Superdome, Packers won, 37-30
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tossed three TDs, while completing 21 of 32 for 283 yards to lead Green Bay. u WR Allen Lazard posted career highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (146) with one TD to pace Green Bay’s offense.
The turning point of the game came in the fourth quarter when LB Za”Darius Smith stripped Saints QB Taysom Hill and the Packers recovered the fumble near midfield. The turnover set up a go-ahead, 49-yard FG by K Mason Crosby with under nine minutes to play.