2024 NFL schedule release: Colts reportedly playing at Packers in Week 2

The official NFL schedule will be released Wednesday night at 8:00 PM ET, but one matchup for the Indianapolis Colts that has already been reported is that they will be traveling to Lambeau Field in Week 2 to face the Packers–avoiding what can be harsh late-season weather in Green Bay.

We do not yet know who the Colts will be facing in Week 1, but the Packers are taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in Brazil that week on a Friday. While the Packers will have some additional rest time playing before facing the Colts, Green Bay will also be coming off a nearly 11,000-mile round trip.

The Packers will provide the Colts with a very good early season test. During the second half of the 2023 season, led by Jordan Love, the Packers offense was operating as one of the best in football and they come into the 2024 season with Super Bowl aspirations.

Green Bay hired new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley earlier in the offseason and, through free agency and the draft, made several – hopefully – high-impact additions to this side of the ball with Xavier McKinney, Edgerrin Cooper, and Javon Bullard.

The two big ticket items for Hafley in his first year as coordinator will be improving the Packers’ run defense with a one-gap, attacking defensive front, along with helping the secondary generate more ball production, which will be done through a vision-based approach.

The Colts, meanwhile, are coming off a 9-8 season where the theme of the offseason for them was continuity. The only outside additions made were bringing in backup quarterback Joe Flacco and defensive tackle Raekwon Davis.

Otherwise, the focus for GM Chris Ballard was on retaining his own players, which included extending Michael Pittman, Zaire Franklin, and DeForest Buckner, along with re-signing Grover Stewart, Kenny Moore, and Julian Blackmon, among others.

“When you have your system in place, it helps big time, especially with the players understanding the verbiage and terminology,” Head coach Shane Steichen said. “But really trying to stay on the cutting edge of things because this league is always changing. So if we can do that and build on what we did last year, I’ll be excited for the 2024 season.”

In the draft, the Colts tackled two of their biggest needs, drafting defensive end Laiatu Latu to bolster the pass rush, along with adding that needed playmaking presence on offense in Adonai Mitchell.

Like every team, the Colts’ have their unknowns, particularly in the secondary, where outside of Moore in the slot and Blackmon at strong safety, the other three starting spots are up for grabs. With a young secondary last season, too many explosive plays were surrendered, and not enough plays on the ball were made.

Ballard invested heavily into building what should be an extremely disruptive defensive front, and that unit is going to play a key role in slowing the Packers offense. If Love has time in the pocket, he and his group of pass-catchers could pick apart the Colts’ secondary.

On the flip side, in what will only be Game 2 for the Packers in Hafley’s defense as they continue to work on implementing the new scheme, the Colts have the personnel to cause issues for Green Bay.

Indianapolis returns their entire starting offensive line from 2023, a group that ranked top 10 in both yards per rush and pressure rate. In the backfield will be Anthony Richardson and Jonathan Taylor, with Pittman, Mitchell, and Josh Downs at receiver.

“To have Anthony and JT back there,” said offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, “JT has an extensive history with a lot of success, leading the league in rushing. Now we’ve got Anthony, where a defense, gosh, there may be that mesh on a run play and it’s JT going left and it’s Anthony going right, and as a defense, how do you defend that?

“You have two really explosive players that maybe have a chance to end up with the ball on a run play, how do you defend all that? It is exciting.”

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire