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Packers vs. Saints 2014 final score: 3 things we learned from New Orleans' 44-23 win

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Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints picked up a much-needed win in the NFC against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Chris Graythen

The New Orleans Saints were winless on the road but 2-0 at home when they welcomed the Green Bay Packers to town Sunday night. In a game that started with offensive firepower but concluded with far more pedestrian statistics (though there were zero punts on the night for just the third time ever), the New Orleans Saints beat Green Bay at home, 44-23.

Here's what we learned.

1. The Saints have an offense. Really.

Despite struggling on the road, the Saints are really good at home, and can be really, really good on offense. They are especially good when quarterback Drew Brees has receiving options like tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and when running back Mark Ingram is picking up tough yards on first and second down.

Brees looked fantastic on Sunday, showing touch on huge passes to Cooks and receiver Kenny Stills and getting Jimmy Graham open for two huge touchdown passes. With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, Brees was 11 for 11 with three touchdowns and 124 yards. That's efficiency.

But the real story on offense was Ingram, who had his best day on the ground this season (granted, against the NFL's worst rush defense). He pushed through tackles and moved well on short yardage downs, helping continue drives and keeping the Packers' offense off the field. He had a critical touchdown (featuring a monster stiff-arm) in the fourth quarter to extend the Saints' lead, finishing the day with more than 160 yards on the ground and one touchdown.

2.  The Saints' defense is on the mend. Maybe.

Last week, the Saints were up on the Detroit Lions, 23-10, with just under four minutes left and let the game slip away. Two weeks earlier, the Saints allowed the Dallas Cowboys to build a 24-0 lead before halftime. Suffice it to say, the Saints defense has been troubled. But against one of the better offenses in the NFC, the Saints performed well. They slowed down quarterback Aaron Rodgers' torrid start (he had 203 yards passing at the top of the second quarter), picking him off twice and forcing him to make bad throws. They blanketed talented receivers like Randall Cobb, and despite Eddie Lacy's strong game, the Packers weren't able to make much of an offensive impact after the first quarter.

On third down, the Saints picked up the pressure on Rodgers, who slowed down considerably as the night wore on. Rodgers still had over 400 yards passing on the night and ran for a touchdown with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but he was somewhat erratic overall. Rodgers was replaced by Matt Flynn in the fourth quarter (who then immediately fumbled).

3.  Could the Saints make a run?

The Saints go to Carolina next week before welcoming the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. Despite how good Brees and the Saints looked on Sunday, their road woes have been well-documented and the Panthers could be challenging. But if the Saints can get past Carolina, their home-field advantage could prove to be just enough to get them over .500 and potentially challenge Carolina for the division lead. With Atlanta and Tampa Bay having down years and Carolina looking vulnerable, there's room for the Saints to make a move.