September 23, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) pulls down New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) in the endzone for a safety during second half of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Packers vs. Saints: Here's how Who Dat Dish editor sees it


September 23, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks for a receiver against the Kansas City Chiefs during second half of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Gene Higginbotham, the editor of our fellow NFL site, Who Dat Dish, took time out of his busy schedule today to answer some questions we had about the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints matchup.

Before the season started, one would have been stunned to think this week four game in Green Bay would feature a winless Saints team marching into Lambeau Field. One would also be surprised to think the Packers would be sitting at 1-2.

This is a huge game for both teams as each looks to get back on track before the season gets along too far.

So, here’s our questions and how Higginbotham sees things:

Q. The Saints come into Lambeau Field with an 0-3 record to face the Packers, who are coming off one of their most frustrating losses in franchise history. Have the Saints addressed those intangibles and do you think those issues will factor into the game?
The Saints say that they are dialed in and have been practicing fast this week.  But they have been saying that since the first week so the proof will be in the pudding.
Q. The Packers defense has been playing much better during the early part of the season, but stopping the run has been hit or miss. What do you think will be the Saints’ game plan coming in … do they focus on the run or go after the Packers secondary?
I think the Saints will try to go back to the run but try to establish a passing game as well.  The Packers secondary to me is pretty solid though, so Brees should proceed with caution.
Q. It seems the Saints offense is as potent as ever, but the defense, much like the Packers in 2011, is being gashed for big yards and many points. Will they be able to stop the Packers?
If the team can ever get into sync on defense they will.  The glaring problem of course seems to be in the pass rush department which the Packers don’t have a problem with.
Q. Who do the Saints need to step up their game in this trip to Lambeau Field? Who has been a disappointment in the early going? And on the flip side, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Saints in the early going?
Two stand out so far as a disappointment and both are first round picks, cornerback Patrick Robinson and running back Mark Ingram.  Defensive end Junior Galette seems to be stepping up more and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is also looking very promising.

September 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) against the Washington Redskins during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Redskins defeated the Saints 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Q. What young players have made a difference for the Saints this season and should be watched?

Defensive end Cameron Jordan is doing better than last year and hopefully will develop further this year.
Q. We all know about the replacement referees and the many blown calls over the first three weeks. Now that the regular referees are back and we can look back on their effects across the league, are there any specific plays you can point to where they affected games in which the Saints played?
I think the tempo especially on offense which the Saints are used to controlling should be a difference.
Q. Is missing Sean Payton been a real factor in the Saints’ slow start? If so, how does the team turn it around?
They say it’s not that bad but it obviously is.  Payton had that fire and could get players motivated by getting in their face which interim head coach Aaron Kromer doesn’t seem to possess.  The team has got to find a way to spark some fire from themselves or it won’t happen.

Sep 8, 2011; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) carries the football after catching a pass during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field.

Q. Tell us how you feel this game will go and, of course, provide us with a final score prediction.

This will probably get me some fire from Saints fans but the way they have been playing, I just don’t know if they will be able to turn it around this quickly especially in Lambeau Field.
30-27 Packers

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