The Green Bay Packers take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on October 7th, 2012. The Packers edged New Orleans 28-27 on September 30th, while the Colts had their bye week. Green Bay leads the all time series 21-20-1, including one postseason game (1965 Western Conference Championship game).
The Green Bay offense, which looked out of sync at times in the team's first three games, appeared to be back on track against the Saints with quarterback Aaron Rodgers putting up some Aaron Rodgers type numbers. Rodgers completed 31 of 41 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns, and had a QB rating of 119.9. He was helped by the much improved play of the Packers' offensive line which did not allow a sack after allowing eight in the previous game against Seattle.
Rodgers will be up against a Colts defense that is 15th in the league in passing yards allowed , averaging about 231 yards per game. Greg Jennings will miss the game due to a groin injury, but the Packers have such depth at wide receiver that his absence will be well covered by others. James Jones is emerging as one of Rodgers' favorite receivers, and tight end Jermichael Finley's 19 receptions are second on the team behind Jordy Nelson's 21. I'm confident that if the pass protection is at or near the level it was against the Saints, Rodgers will have a very productive day.
I was pleased to see Green Bay establish the run early against the Saints, and I expect the Packers to do the same against the Colts' 24th ranked rushing defense (131.3 yards per game). The signing of running back Cedric Benson is paying off. Opposing defenses now must respect the run, something that didn't happen much in 2011. Benson has also contributed to the passing game with 12 catches out of the backfield for 76 yards in the first four games.
The Colts are in are in the first year of a rebuilding phase, beginning with the number one pick in the 2012 draft, quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck has thrown for 846 yards and five touchdowns in his first three NFL games, but he's also been intercepted five times. He's been sacked five times, and will be tested by the pressure of the improved Green Bay pass rush.
The Packers' pass defense took a step back against New Orleans, allowing 446 yards and three touchdown passes by Drew Brees. The Colts don't have the Saints' depth at receiver, but Luck does have a dangerous target in veteran Reggie Wayne, who has 23 catches for 294 yards and a touchdown in the first three games. The pass defense allowed too many receptions up the middle against New Orleans, particularly to tight end Jimmy Graham. Luck could try to exploit this with his own tight ends, especially Coby Fleener, who was a favorite target when both played at Stanford.
The Packers haven't beaten the Colts in Indianapolis since the team moved there from Baltimore in 1984, losing three times. I see this as an excellent opportunity to put an end to that and finally pick up the team's first victory in Indianapolis.
A Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Mark Hudziak has been a fan of the Green Bay Packers since the Vince Lombardi era.
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