In what NFL Networks have deemed “a heavyweight title match” two former Superbowl champions, the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, will compete in the NFL season opener on Thursday.
New Orleans seems to have something to prove after the 2009 champions were knocked out of the playoffs by Seattle last season. Drew Brees, quarterback for the Saints, said his team was working hard to prepare for the game.
“Grinding on the Packers," Brees wrote on his Twitter account. "This should be one heck of a game!"
ESPN analysts agree and have analyzed the match ups in both teams to determine who will come out on top. The sports network determined that the two teams were evenly matched in terms of coaching and the performance of their franchise quarterbacks.
However, USA today believes the key to the Saints’ success would be to eliminate turnovers, according to USA Today.
“The Saints were sensational in this all-important category during their 2009 championship season, registering a plus-11 takeaway-to- giveaway ratio, but were minus-six a year ago and Brees threw a career-high 22 interceptions,” USA Today reported. “They can't afford to be careless with the ball in this game, as the Packers were 10-0 (including the playoffs) last season when they forced more turnovers than the opposition.”
Although the publication admitted that the game would be close, they chose the Packers as the winning team along with NFL networks.
Although the NFL blog said that the Packers had advantages in positions such as linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, edge rushers and wide receivers, the team is not counting their opposition out just yet.
Sean Payton, coach for the Saints said the team has used footage from old games to help them with preparation for the Packers.
“After the schedule comes out and you know you have an opponent like Green Bay, you begin to look at a whole season's worth of tape and you begin to put some ideas together and then you try to follow how the preseason goes and see if there are some things that are similar or if there are some things that are different that you need to work on,” Payton said, according to The Times-Picayune.
He added: “Generally, especially with the first game, there's been a lot of time given because you just have that and with the lockout you have that much more time."
The showdown will take place on at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evening.