Game: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Stadium: Lambeau Field
Date: Thursday, September 8
Time: 8:30 PM EST
Packers fans in the Green Bay area don’t miss the chance to meet two-time Pro Bowler Clay Matthews at the Back to Football Friday Celebration, September 9th at the Stadium Bar and Grill in Green Bay. It’s all free and sponsored by Verizon.
It doesn’t get much better than kicking off the 2011 NFL season with a showdown between the past two Super Bowl winners – the first time since 2000 that the two defending champs meet in Week 1 – as the reigning champion Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints at legendary Lambeau Field. Prior to the game, there will be a banner presentation, giving the Packer faithful another chance to celebrate their team’s memorable, if improbable, postseason run, which concluded in Green Bay becoming just the second No. 6 seed ever to win it all.
If that’s not enough excitement for some of the best fans in all of football once the game gets underway, there’s a good chance the scoreboard will get a workout since these teams are the only two in the league to finish in the Top 10 in total offense each of the past five years.
In addition to the special appearance by Clay Matthews, Back To Football Friday will feature fun football-related activities for fans of all ages, including an interactive Q&A with Packers players, an autograph session and a face-painting station.
Led once again by Aaron Rodgers, MVP of XLV, the Packers’ offense ranked No. 9 last year and shouldn’t have much trouble moving the chains and reaching the painted grass against the Saints. If anything, there’s potential for even more offensive firepower from the get-go this season, as breakout candidate Jermichael Finley, the tight end who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 of 2010, and running back Ryan Grant, who tore a ligament in his right ankle on just his eighth carry, are both healthy.
And let’s not forget that with just 42 more yards receiving, longtime Packer Donald Driver will set this illustrious franchise’s record in that category, currently held by James Lofton (9,656 yards).
For all of the offensive exploits though, Green Bay was actually better on the other side of the ball last year, checking in at No. 5 in total defense and allowing just 15.0 points per game, good for second-best in the league. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who led the team with 13.5 sacks in 2010, and cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, among the best duos in the game, should give Saints QB Drew Brees fits all night long.
No wonder the Packers have ranked in the Top 5 in passing defense each of the past two seasons. Best yet, all six of last year’s Pro Bowlers – Matthews, Williams and Woodson, along with receiver Greg Jennings, tackle Chad Clifton and safety Nick Collins – are back this year, meaning once again, the Pack is, banck and indeed, stacked.
The Back to Football Friday Celebration will be from 3 – 10 PM on September 9 at the Stadium View Bar & Grill, located at 1963 Holmgren Way in Green Bay. For more information, please call the establishment at (920) 498-1989, or visit the website at TheStadiumView.com.