Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/2/12

The Green Bay Packers gave the New Orleans Saints every opportunity to win their first game of the season, last Sunday at Lambeau Field. 

Garrett Hartley’s 48-yard attempt sailed wide right with under 3 minutes to play, and the Packers came away victorious, with the final score reading 28-27. 

This game is proof that parity is alive and well in the NFL, and that nothing is going to come easy for these two teams, who for the past three seasons had been a perennial power in each of their respected divisions.

Here are five things to take from the game:

1.)  Drew Brees is still picking defenses apart

Brees threw for 446 yards, but also attempted 54 passes in the air. 

If you break that number down, the Saints gained 8.3 yards per attempt. For a team that only accumulated a total of 45 rushing yards, I’d say he not only single handily kept his team in this one, he gave them a chance to win.

2.)  The Packers are showing their commitment to the run game and it’s starting to pay off

Minus the first game against San Francisco where Benson only had nine carries, he has received 17 or more in each of the last three games. Benson ran for 84 yards on 18 carries, and a 4.7 YPC average. This bodes well for Green Bay’s offense.

3.)  Greg Jennings’ groin is limiting his productivity, big time

Playing in the final year of his contract, Jennings has struggled to remain healthy, and his numbers indicate this. For years, Jennings has been the big play man in this offense. In four games this year, he’s been targeted 22 times, with just 12 catches for 78 yards.

His longest catch of the 2012 campaign has been for 13 yards. You aren’t able to be explosive when your groin is giving you grief.

4.)  Playing at Lambeau Field doesn’t appear to be a given win this year for Green Bay

Yes, the Packers are 2-1 at Lambeau this year, but had that kick sailed through the uprights, this team was looking at a possible 1-2 start at home. They need to take better care of business on their home turf.

5.)  Brees was either real good at converting 3rd downs, or the Packers need to inprove on 3rd down

The reason that I brought both statements to the table is because they are both true. Brees is one of the most clutch 3rd down converters in the league, and when it matters the most, he is precise. 

The Saints were 9 for 17 on 3rd down completions, but had even a higher success rate in the first half. The Packers must make more stops on third downs against the elite teams in this league if they plan on having any aspirations of playoff success.



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