The New Orleans Saints will travel to Lambeau Field on Thursday Night Football to kick off the 2011 NFL season against the Green Bay Packers. The 2010 and 2011 Super Bowl champs have clearly been successful teams in recent years, particularly on offense.
The Saints, in particular, have had one of the best passing attacks in the NFL with the arrival of QB Drew Brees in New Orleans. Last year, they ranked third in passing yards but 28th in rushing yards. It's on that note that SB Nation's Canal Street Chronicles argues that one of the keys to the game for New Orleans is establishing a balanced offense.
On the running game:
The Saints need to be strong in running, able to convert that third-and-short on the ground so the Packers can't just jam the TEs and WRs and disrupt that quick pass to stop a drive, and late in the game if the Saints need a grind-it-out, clock-consuming drive.
On the passing game:
On the other hand, the Saints also need to have the passing game viable at the mid- and long-range levels to bail them out in case they get into the occasional second- or third- and long, for simple variety of attack, and to help open up the running game.
The Packers may not have a problem dialing up big offensive plays to match the Saints so controlling the ball and effectively utilizing the running game will be a key for them.
Hop on over to SB Nation's Canal Street Chronicles for a full list of the keys to the game.