Week 3 Picks: Saints vs. Packers
New Orleans Saints (2-0 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 1PM EDT
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Point Spread: NO +2/GB -2 (Bovada – Home of the 75% crypto bonus and BEST live betting!)
Money Line: New Orleans +110, Green Bay -130
Over/Under Total: 43
The New Orleans Saints battle the Green Bay Packers in a key week 3 NFC battle from Lambeau Field on Sunday. Despite having not covered the spread yet, the Saints are 2-0 with Derek Carr as their new QB. On MNF, they nipped Carolina, 20-17, following a 16-15 win in week one over Tennessee, twice relying on a stout “D” to get the job done. It won’t be easy coming into Lambeau to face a Packers squad that fell to 1-1 after a tough one-point loss to Atlanta after taking a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter. Who can deliver us the cover in this pivotal showdown at Lambeau?
A Difficult Assessment on Offense
With both teams, we have a two-game window that follows a great deal of flux. The Packers are without Rodgers for the first time in nearly two decades, while the Raiders’ longtime QB is now on the Saints. We think we may have an idea of how this is going to work, but we really don’t know yet. Jordan Love’s 6 TD throws against no picks looks good, but other than some red-zone alacrity, he has been far from electric. The Aaron Jones hamstring issue is a daunting proposition for the Packers, an offense really starved for star-power. Jones is really their Mr. Do Everything. With Joshua Doubs still recovering and Christian Watson’s status iffy, Green Bay is already dealing with some issues they can’t really absorb right now. If they’re out there with Jordan Love, a receding AJ Dillon, while relying aerially on youngsters like Jayden Reed and TE Luke Musgrave, that doesn’t set up too badly for a New Orleans defense that looks like it means business.
A 2-0 start might take some heat off a New Orleans offense that has been far from elite. Derek Carr has only found the end zone once aerially, though Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, and Michael Thomas have gotten involved. Tight end Juwan Johnson is off to a slow start and we’re seeing the price of not having Alvin Kamara, as Jamaal Williams is not looking good, forcing the Saints to work in Taysom Hill and Tony Jones, Jr. more. A total of 36 points isn’t going to get anyone’s blood pumping, but with both teams seeing new faces behind center, a two-game window isn’t likely to give us an iron-clad compass for where we’re heading.
Matchup Difficulties the Packers Face at Lambeau this Week
We’ve seen the Saints be pretty tough on the run this season. The Packers with the prospects of Dillon again being their lead back or a reduced workload for Jones, might not pan out well overall. Granted, the Saints pass-defense has thrived only against the likes of Tannehill and rookie Bryce Young. But Jordan Love and this Green Bay aerial offense is also facing injury bugs, a unit that isn’t even that great when at peak health. I’m not sure we see the Saints’ defense just suddenly melt in this spot, despite some favorable matchups the first two weeks, maybe making them look better than they are. Then again, with two games under his belt as a starter and some guys getting healthy, we mY see Love start to click with this offense.
The Flip Side of the Coin
A home defense might be where the Packers butter their bread this week. That run-stop is iffy and will be a major problem this season. And sure, the Saints can spring forth with some stuff from Taysom Hill if Jamaal Williams reverses course and some continued short-yardage prowess from Jones, Jr., but the Saints aren’t in the best spot to pounce on this Packers’ run defense this week as they’d be under ideal conditions. And while the Saints have been efficient in spots in Derek Carr’s first two games with the team, they haven’t ben prolific, and you figure Green Bay CB Jaire Alexander figures well into this equation for the Packers this week. As a New Orleans backer, you’re hardly alarmed at Carr’s first two weeks, while perhaps thinking he could have been more productive in close games against a dicey Tennessee secondary and Carolina without Jaycee Horn. This would seem like an odd week for the fireworks to begin.
Which X-Factors Will Manifest?
There appear to be a few things that could flip the script. You’d think the multitude of aerial weapons Carr has at his disposal could start to pay off. There’s always Olave, but with Michael Thomas not looking bad and the work of Shaheed, Juwan Johnson, and all their other contributors, maybe the offense turns Carr loose some. Maybe we see some gadgetry involving Taysom Hill, as we’ve seen that pay off in the past. Or maybe we see the Packers work Aaron Jones back into the mix and he’s actually ready to go. Perhaps we see Love start to grow into his role. It’s an equation with a lot of unstable pieces.
Lay the Points
The Saints might be able to run the ball a little bit with some success here and there, but they’re not really poised to pounce on the one thing they could chip away at with this home Packers defense. The Saints’ defense will allow them to stay in this game, but at some point, Love will connect with some of his targets, and New Orleans is going to need to sustain some offense with their run game sideways and the aerial game being more efficient than it is game-changing. In what should be a grind, I see Green Bay escaping with the close win at home.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Green Bay Packers minus 2 points.
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