Two of the NFL's best quarterbacks – and offenses – will take the prime-time stage on "Sunday Night Football" at 7:30 p.m. when the New Orleans Saints host the Green Bay Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Oct. 26.
Aaron Rodgers and his Packers (5-2) head to New Orleans on a four-game winning streak that includes a 38-17 dismantling of Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 19.
"They're kind of on a roll," Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said.
Rodgers was 19 of 22 for 255 yards and three touchdowns in the win over the Panthers. For the season he's 141 of 211 for 1,574 yards with 18 touchdowns and just one interception. He has been sacked 17 times and lost four fumbles.
Payton was effusive in his praise of Rodgers earlier this week.
"He's extremely accurate, he can buy time with his feet," Payton said. "He's got a great clock in his head."
The Saints (2-4) are back home after suffering a tough 24-23 loss at Detroit in which the Lions rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 28 of 45 for 342 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. For the season Brees is 178 of 263 for 1,916 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Brees has been sacked just five times and hasn't lost a fumble.
Since Sean Payton took over the Saints and Mike McCarthy became the head coach of the Packers the four games between the teams have been shootouts. New Orleans won 34-27 at Lambeau Field in 2006 and 51-29 at the Superdome in 2008 while losing 42-34 in 2011 at Lambeau Field and 28-27 in 2012 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay leads the all-time series 16-7.
But the Saints at home under Payton have been on a roll. The Saints haven't lost at home with Payton on the sideline since the end of the 2010 season. New Orleans has won 18 consecutive regular-season home games under Payton, including both its wins this season (vs. Minnesota and Tampa Bay). In "Sunday Night Football" the Saints have never lost a home game under Payton (6-0), with wins against Dallas and Carolina last season.
But to defeat Green Bay the Saints will have to do more than stop Rodgers and his top receiving threats (Jordy Nelson, 47 receptions for 712 yards and six TDs; Randall Cobb, 35 receptions for 452 yards and eight TDs) as the Packers' running game has become increasingly more effective.
Former Alabama bulldozer Eddie Lacy, a Louisiana native, is the team's top running back with 92 carries for 369 yards and four touchdowns.
"We have to go out there and win in our preparation during the week, come out against Green Bay and execute," said Saints guard Jahri Evans.
The Saints counter with another former Alabama running back in Mark Ingram, who returned last week from a hand injury that sidelined him for three games. Before the injury, Ingram was off to the best start of his NFL career. He's averaging 4.7 yards a carry and has three rushing touchdowns. Khiry Robinson picked up most of Ingram's workload while he was out and leads the team with 330 yards on 64 carries, a 5.2 average. And veteran Pierre Thomas has proven effective running and receiving this season with 133 yards on 30 carries and 204 yards on 26 receptions.
The Saints' defense enters the game off its best performance of the season. Safety Kenny Vaccaro and cornerback Keenan Lewis had interceptions that led to points and New Orleans sacked