Adrian Peterson makes potent Saints offense even more dangerous
Seventh in a 13-part series on the opponents the Green Bay Packers will face during the 2017 regular season.
GREEN BAY - When the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints meet, it is not a pretty sight for football purists.
On average, NFL teams each scored 22.7 points in a game during the 2016 season, according to Pro Football Reference. Since the Packers and Saints hired Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton as head coaches in 2006, both teams have exceeded that number in each of their five matchups.
In those five games, the Packers and Saints on average have combined to score 67.8 points per game. The losing team has averaged four touchdowns.
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So there will be big-play explosives — and likely very little defense — when the Packers and Saints meet this fall at Lambeau Field. That’s fitting, considering Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have been two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Of course, it’s not exactly a good thing that despite having one of the NFL’s most powerful offenses in recent years, the Saints are reeling from three consecutive 7-9 seasons.
Here are three things to know about the Saints.
» Father Time is calling: If Brees’ advancing age has limited him, his numbers sure don’t show it. Last season, at age 37, Brees threw for 5,208 yards — the second-highest total in his career. The only season he threw for more was 2011, when Brees set the single-season record with 5,476 yards. It was the fifth time in his career Brees exceeded 5,000 yards in a season, but his first since 2013. He also finished with 37 touchdown passes, also his most since 2013. Brees turned 38 in January, and at some point age will affect the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Entering this fall, he’s shown to still be plenty dangerous.
» Kuuuuuhn! The Packers decided to move on from longtime fullback John Kuhn after 2015 sixth-round pick Aaron Ripkowski proved capable of replacing him, a belief Ripkowski justified with his play last season. But Kuhn’s career continues to chug along. After one season in New Orleans at age 34, Kuhn was re-signed to a one-year deal in February. Among Kuhn’s highlights last season was his first receiving touchdown since 2011, and his four rushing touchdowns were his most since 2011. Of course, any fullback’s primary job is to block, and Kuhn will get a new lead tailback behind him this fall — someone Packers fans know awfully well.
» On the back nine: No, the Packers can’t escape Adrian Peterson. Just when his days with the Minnesota Vikings end, closing an era that included one MVP, four first-team All-Pros and seven Pro Bowl selections, Peterson still falls on the Packers' schedule. Entering his 10th season, the longtime Vikings running back certainly is in the tail end of his career. At 32, it’ll be interesting to see how much gas Peterson has left in the tank. He played in only three games last season — rushing for a combined total of 72 yards— but led the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards in 2015.
Packers schedule glimpse
Oct. 22 vs. Saints, noon, Fox
Week before: at Vikings, Oct. 15
Week after: vs. Lions, Nov. 6
On the horizon: at Bears, Nov. 12
New Orleans Saints
Coach: Sean Payton (94-66, 11th season)
2016 record: 7-9, third NFC South
Scoring offense: 29.3 points per game (2nd in NFL)
Total offense: 426 yards per game (1st)
Scoringdefense: 28.4 points allowed per game (31st)
Total defense: 375.4 yards allowed per game (27th)
Series: Packers lead 16-8
Last meeting: It was another one of those games with lopsided scores when the Packers visited the Saints for a Sunday night kickoff Oct. 26, 2014. The Saints won 44-23 inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, scoring at least 10 points in three of the four quarters. The Packers were held to the lowest point total of either team in the series since 2006. Brees won the quarterback matchup, completing 27 of 32 passes for 311 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 138.4 rating. Rodgers completed 28-of-39 passes for 418 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 93.8 rating. Despite his struggles that night, it is the most recent time Rodgers has reached 400 passing yards in a game.