Smart Guys: How we're picking Packers-Saints game
Weston Hodkiewicz (7-0)
Saints 38, Packers 35
The Packers and Saints sit on opposite ends of the spectrum in turnover margin, but you can't count on Drew Brees to continue giving the ball away. His 110 passer rating is a solid indicator of how he can pull apart a defense, which could be down three starters. Both of the Packers' losses this season came inside loud road environments. The Saints haven't lost at home since Sean Payton returned from his yearlong suspension. Their season could go one of two directions after a disheartening loss to the Lions. Gut feeling is they get one back at Green Bay's expense.
Ryan Wood (6-1)
Packers 34, Saints 27
Before the season, I predicted Green Bay would go 2-2 in September before ripping off a long stretch of wins and finish 13-3. It seemed unlikely, especially when the Packers opened 1-2. Now? Green Bay's offense is humming, drawing comparisons to 2011. Its defense may be one of the most improved units in the league over the past month. Tonight won't be easy. In prime time inside the Superdome, the Saints are much more dangerous than their 2-4 record. Still, with a four-game win streak, it seems like a bad time to start picking against the Packers.
Robert Zizzo (6-1)
Packers 31, Saints 27
New Orleans just doesn't lose in the Superdome, but this is a different team with fewer weapons than years past. Green Bay is on a roll on both sides of the ball and usually plays well on the fast track that a dome provides. But this one will come down to the end because both offenses are prolific with elite quarterbacks; no lead will be safe.
Pete Dougherty (5-2)
Saints 31, Packers 30
There are plenty of good reasons to pick the Packers. They're ascending with four straight wins and improved play on both sides of the ball, whereas New Orleans (2-3) has been going the other way and has played poorly on defense. Also, if tight end Jimmy Graham (shoulder) isn't closer to full strength than he was last week, New Orleans won't have its best receiving weapon. But the Saints still have talent, need a win badly, and most importantly are very tough to beat at the Superdome. They've won 13 straight night games there dating to 2009, and 19 straight home games overall that Sean Payton has coached. The guess here is the Saints pull this one out at the end.