A little more than a year after he got his wish and was traded by the Packers, CB Mike McKenzie expects to be showered with boos upon his return to Lambeau Field on Sunday. McKenzie could end up getting the last laugh. He's picked up where he left off from his first season in New Orleans and is making an impact on the left side of the Saints secondary.
McKenzie finished last season with 39 tackles, five interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He signed a three-year contract extension this off-season. He had one interception in New Orleans' season-opening win at Carolina.
The Packers are incredibly short-handed at receiver, having lost top playmaker Javon Walker to a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 and promising rookie Terrence Murphy indefinitely with a neck injury from a scary hit Monday. If McKenzie can get the upper hand with his press coverage against Donald Driver, Brett Favre will have to turn to Robert Ferguson. Perhaps with reluctance, since Ferguson has irked the quarterback in the early going by not being assertive at times catching the football.
Favre, meanwhile, will have to count his blessings if he's given ample time to get rid of the football because a spate of injuries on the offensive line doesn't bode well for contending with the Saints' superb defensive front.
Packers offensive line vs. Saints defensive line
C Mike Flanagan won't play after undergoing surgery Wednesday for a hernia. Scott Wells gets the start, and the interior of the line could be in further flux if LT Chad Clifton doesn't make a hasty recovery from a sprained ankle. That would put the onus on Adrian Klemm, the current starter at left guard, to move to the outside and try to keep the likes of Charles Grant, Darren Howard and Will Smith off Favre's back. What's more, there's mild concern about how effective RT Mark Tauscher will be as he valiantly attempts to play with a sprained arch.
WR Donte Stallworth vs. LCB Ahmad Carroll
Stallworth has had two huge games in the past three weeks, going for 141 yards against the New York Giants and ripping the Buffalo Bills for 129 yards. So working on Carroll, who has been prone to penalties since coming into the league last season, might be a strong consideration.
Saints secondary vs. Packers QB Brett Favre The Saints rank sixth in the NFL in pass defense, giving up 178.8 yards a game. They allowed just 67 net yards in last week's win over the Bills, but J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb will be nowhere to be found Sunday. Favre, like Daunte Culpepper a couple of weeks ago, will be quite a formidable challenge.
Saints offensive line vs. Packers DT Grady Jackson
The Saints know that Jackson, who played with them in 2002 and 2003, is a load to try and move out of the way when he's got his mind on playing the run. Going against the team that unceremoniously cut him midway through the 2003 season will no doubt be a motivational factor for him on Sunday. I