Packers-Saints key matchups

The Green Bay Packers will host the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Lambeau Field. While Reggie Bush will be a focal point for the Packers, there are other players in other areas on both teams that will be interesting to watch.

Saints RB Reggie Bush vs. Packers defense and punt-return coverage unit
Bush's impact on a game even as a rookie isn't being taken lightly in Green Bay. He's a primary focus for the defense, which will rely on mixing and matching coverage personnel.

The onus will fall on linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga when Bush is sent out of the backfield in passing situations. The Saints no doubt prefer to get Bush one on one with Poppinga, who was overmatched in downfield coverage against Chicago in the opener.

"The main thing we've got to do is when they complete the short (passes), get our guys in better position to make the tackle after they catch the ball," said Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders. "That's what we've been working hard on."

Charles Woodson, shaky in Week 1, will be the defensive back on the spot when Bush lines up in the slot. Nickel back Ahmad Carroll will have to resist his touchy-feely ways if Bush is across from him out wide. Meanwhile, Bush is every bit as dangerous as a punt returner. The Packers have allowed one return for a touchdown already in 2006.

Packers offensive line vs. Saints defensive line
Speedy ends Charles Grant and Will Smith were non-factors in Green Bay's 52-3 blowout of New Orleans last season at Lambeau Field. The Saints didn't have a sack of Brett Favre, who efficiently picked apart the secondary with three touchdown passes.

In the rematch, however, the Packers' line with three new interior starters has yet to jell and must not only account for Grant and Smith but the respective quickness and brute force of tackles Brian Young and Hollis Thomas. Young tossed aside Cleveland's inside guys for three sacks of Charlie Frye, who was treated after the game for dehydration. Favre doesn't want to wind up in the same situation.

Saints LT Jammal Brown vs. Packers RDE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
After struggling in training camp, Brown did an admirable job in his first game at left tackle against the Browns last week. But he will get a bigger test from KGB this week.

Saints WR Joe Horn vs. Packers CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson
Horn didn't have the best of games last week against the Browns, dropping a couple of passes and not finishing off blocks. Look for Horn, who is usually hard on himself, to step up his play against Harris and/or Woodson.

Packer Report Top Stories