It was a slow start to the 2014 NFL season for the Green Bay Packers, but four straight wins have the team tied for first place. The reigning NFC North champs try to make if five in a row when they visit the New Orleans Saints on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 8.
Green Bay’s offense struggled to begin the year, averaging just 18 points per game. Aaron Rodgers and Co. turned a corner at the start of their current winning streak and haven’t looked back, putting up over 36 points per contest.
Since the season opener, Rodgers has arguably been the best player in football, throwing 17 touchdown passes and no interceptions. In Green Bay’s last win, he completed 19-of-22 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns, nearly recording a perfect passer rating.
Rodgers’s level of play has helped improve the team’s running game, which was nonexistent in the first four games. After averaging just over 40 yards on the ground in each of the first four games, Eddie Lacy has rushed for 5.3 yards per carry and added his first 100-yard game of 2014.
The Packers have a good chance to continue their success in New Orleans, where points aren’t expected to be hard to come by. The over/under at most Las Vegas casinos is the highest on the Week 8 schedule at 55.5 total points.
The Saints have one of the best home-field advantages in NFL, going undefeated at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in two of the last three seasons. They’re 2-0 at home this season, but only favored by 1.5 points on Sunday. It’s the first time since 2008 that New Orleans is favored by less than two points at home with Sean Payton coaching.
New Orleans was expected to be a top team in the NFC, but that hasn’t been the case. The Packers enter Week 8 with the top Super Bowl odds in the conference. With a 2-4 record, the Saints are behind seven NFC teams.
Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints offense have seen a drop off in scoring production in recent years, posting 24 points or less in four of six games. Brees is second in the league in yards per game, but he’s tied for third with seven interceptions. Last week, he threw a key interception in the fourth quarter that resulted in New Orleans blowing a two-touchdown lead.
Despite their poor start, New Orleans is very much in the playoff hunt. The NFC south has proven to be the worst division in football, considering no team is above .500. The Saints trail the first-place Carolina Panthers, who they will play twice this season, by one game.
Prediction: Even though the Saints are undefeated at home in 2014, they’ve been far from dominant. They beat the Minnesota Vikings in a contest that was close much of the way, and needed overtime to get by the one-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Green Bay might be the best team in the conference, and it’s about time New Orleans finally loses in front of their home fans.
Predicted Score: Green Bay 33, New Orleans 27