A quick overview of three storylines that could help determine the outcome when the New Orlean Saints take on the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
The Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings was bad enough, but the potentially season-ending injury to franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers was undoubtedly the impetus for their tumble down the latest USA TODAY’s NFL Power Rankings, where they find themselves at No. 21 heading into Week 7.
The Packers’ opponents this Sunday, the New Orleans Saints, saw their stock rise six spots and they now sit at No. 11.
Here’s what USA TODAY had to say about the Packers;
Loss of Aaron Rodgers is the headliner. But can they remain relevant when also factoring in decimated O-line and secondary?
And here’s what they had to say about the Saints:
The New Orleans defense SCORED three touchdowns Sunday. Eighteen of the 28 offenses in action during Week 6 couldn't make similar claim.
Elsewhere, Elliot Harrison drops the Packers 12 spots, down to No. 15.
No question, this is a huge drop. Yet, until we figure out what the Packers can do with backup quarterback Brett Hundley at the helm, this is where Green Bay sits. What I like: Hundley's comments post-loss, talking about his passion for football and not acting like a man who's afraid of replacing Aaron Rodgers in the wake of the franchise QB's broken collarbone. What I don't like: How many stars the NFL is losing to injury this year. Think about it: Eric Berry, David Johnson, J.J. Watt,Odell Beckham Jr., Rodgers. How about all the quality players just a rung beneath those names, like Ryan Tannehill, Whitney Mercilus and Dalvin Cook? Losing Rodgers for the season would be devastating, although the Pack did make the playoffs in 2013 without their franchise QB for half the year. Pulling for Hundley.
Over at ESPN, the Packers drop all the way from No. 2 to No. 16.
From their website:
Green Bay's chance to win the division, according to FPI, dropped from 65 percent to 20 percent following Aaron Rodgers' injury. With the red-hot Saints coming to town this weekend, the Packers' Week 8 bye might not be soon enough.
Frank Schwab drops the Packers the exact same amount for his Yahoo power rankings:
Let’s get this out of the way: Anyone clamoring for someone other than Brett Hundley to start isn’t thinking clearly. Hundley might be good, he might be bad, but it would be crazy for the Packers to not see what they have. I’m optimistic Hundley can keep the Packers competitive. Any time he has gotten a shot in the preseason, he has played well. You owe it to yourself to find out what he can do in the regular season, after getting the first-team reps in practice. The Packers are no longer Super Bowl contenders, but grabbing a playoff spot isn’t crazy. But the combination of Aaron Rodgers‘ injury and the seemingly endless injuries at other positions certainly makes it tougher.
Over at Bleacher Report, Chris Simms drops the Packers from No. 5 to No. 17:
Losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone is a crushing blow for the Packers. Green Bay is now going to have to find out what kind of team it is. If you've read anything I've written over the last couple of years, you know I believe Rodgers covers for a lot of the Packers' weaknesses.
The Packers cannot run the same offense they did with Rodgers. They cannot put the ball in Brett Hundley's hands and expect him to win games the way Rodgers did. Green Bay is going to have to rely more on the ground-and-pound in order to keep games close and give the team chances to win.
Green Bay's defense is good—it created some turnovers against the Minnesota Vikings that kept the Packers in the game—but it isn't great.
I had concerns with the Packers with Rodgers under center.