Predictions, key roster battle to watch in Saints vs. Packers tonight _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- New Orleans quarterback Ryan Griffin played less than a minute Sunday needs a strong performance Thursday against the Packers to have a chance to make the Saints' roster.

Ryan Griffin is in a tough spot.

The Tulane product remained on the sidelines last week until there was less than a minute remaining and then threw an interception after entering the game. But even before he threw that pick, it became apparent that he has work to do if he wants to knock off Luke McCown and serve as Drew Brees’ backup.

Griffin should receive the bulk of the snaps of this week. The Saints have seen everything they need to see from Brees, and the same might be true for McCown.

If this battle is still open and Griffin has a shot, he’s going to have to go out against the Packers and play a nearly flawless game. Nothing can be left up to interpretation. This is the week he has to get it done.

The opportunity for him to make it based on potential is over. The presence of Grayson means that Griffin’s potential no longer matters. Someone else is now the future. Griffin simply has to be the best man for the job.

While Griffin has pieced together a strong camp, it appears the coaching staff still needs to be convinced.

The possibility remains that Grayson could be the lone quarterback on the roster behind Brees. The rookie has been far from perfect, and his performance in the red zone last week left a lot to be desired, but the potential is still there for him to claim the lone roster spot.

If Griffin clears waivers, it’s feasible that he would be signed back to the practice squad and the roster spot reserved for McCown could be spent on saving another player.

It’s unlikely, and risky, but it’s certainly possible.

For Griffin, though, it’s likely that he would much rather win the job outright and make the roster.

--Nick Underhill

ADVOCATE STAFF PREDICTIONS

NICK UNDERHILL: This one is going to be tough to call. It’s the backup bowl. The result, like any other preseason game, does not matter. But this one is on a different level. It’s all about how the guys lower on the roster perform. The guys on the field will be trying to win because their efforts will be focused on not committing sins. But it’s doubtful the coaching staff will care much about the final score. Still, let’s give the Saints their first win. Nick’s prediction: Saints 27, Packers 20

JOEL ERICKSON: A trip to Lambeau Field should involve Drew Brees dueling Aaron Rodgers, sub-freezing temperatures and a little bit of snow, but since this is preseason, none of those things, including the quarterbacks, are likely to be in play. Neither team will be playing many starters, leaving the game to the guys fighting for roster spots. Watch them — guys like Bobby Richardson, Willie Snead, Ashaad Mabry, Tavaris Barnes, Kyle Wilson and Tim Hightower, to name a few — and give very little thought to the outcome. Joel’s prediction: Packers 24, Saints 16

SCOTT RABALAIS: Watch to see Ryan Griffin can run the offense. Watch to see which borderline players can earn one of the Saints’ coveted 53 roster spots. Watch to see how Drew Brees looks in a baseball cap if you must. But don’t watch to figure out how good these Saints will be. This will be Saints Lite on display once again. A true reading must wait for the real game at Arizona. Rab’s prediction: Packers 20, Saints 13