So far, so good for Packers without Aaron Rodgers

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Green Bay Packers QB Brett Hundley evades defenders on a 22-yard scramble durings Sunday's matchup against the Saints.

The Packers have to be in a race for the playoffs for Rodgers to actually return.

All week, the locker room talk was about doing everything possible to make it easier for Hundley to function and that's exactly how the game began. Damarious Randall in the end zone and Davon House at the six yard line.

- New Orleans dominated the second half, outscoring the Packers by 16 points.

Our models projected Hundley for 12.7 FanDuel points and he almost hit that on the bullseye with 12.9 in Week 7. The big play was a 14 yard catch with a 15 yard horse collar penalty against linebacker A.J. Klein, a Kimberly high school product.

The Defense: In most cases, I try to single out just a single player or unit that needs to step up his game, but in the second half the entire defense played poorly from top to bottom.

The Saints scored on their first four possessions, moving the ball at will.

But Kenny Clark deflected the Wil Lutz point after and Green Bay was still up by a point. Browns rookie Zane Gonzalez forced overtime by kicking a season-long 54-yard field goal with 47 seconds left in regulation to tie it 9-9. He ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the contest, provided a block that opened up Hundley's touchdown run and set up Green Bay's second-half field goal with a 21-yard run.

Lutz answered from 44 with 10:21 to play.

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"I knew when I came down, I didn't feel a pop, but it was hurting really bad". One thing about it, neither one of those guys are one man's responsibility.

Hundley spent the week practicing with the first team offense in preparation for his first start.

The offensive game plan appeared to limit the amount of downfield throwing for Hundley as there were only a couple of deep shots. He completed just 12 of 25 passes for 87 yards without a touchdown for a passer rating of 39.9.

"You see that?" wide receiver Brandon Coleman said. On the first one, Hundley missed Davante Adams on a short throw right to the first-down marker.

The run game produced early, especially with Jones.

The Saints took over from there, and the Packers couldn't keep up through the air. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 162 rushing yards, and Ted Ginn blew up for 141 yards on seven catches.

The special teams continue to hurt field position with penalties.

"We've got to get better and we will get better, but we're not out", Hundley said.

Essentially Green Bay and Rodgers would be willing to aggressively push the timeline for bringing Rodgers back off IR if there was a chance he could return and help the Packers secure a playoff spot.