This upcoming Sunday, the Green Bay Packers face the Indianapolis Colts, and while the Colts have only won three of their first eight games of the season, they are a team full of offensive talent and can pull off a big upset at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Green Bay is coming off the most optimistic loss in recent memory, losing a close one in Atlanta. The Packers will be forced, yet again, to use their band-aid type game plan and hope for success this weekend. Here are three keys to beating the Indianapolis Colts:
Once again, the focus of this defense is to get pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck. With the Packer’s secondary still pretty banged up, Green Bay will need to rely on the pass rush to control the game. Luckily, for the Packers, Pro Bowl OLB Clay Matthews has vowed to be ready to play on Sunday.
The front seven should have themselves a field day against this broken, young, offensive line of the Colts. Indianapolis will start two converted, undersized centers at their guard spots (Jonotthan Harrison & Denzell Goode), a rookie at center (Ryan Kelly), and a rookie at right tackle (Joe Haeg). Andrew Luck should hope for his last name against this pass rush.
The Colts have allowed 31 sacks this year, good for dead last in the league in that respect. By pressuring Luck, Green Bay can hopefully force some turnovers, something they have lacked so far. Expect Mike Daniels to flourish in this game as he will most likely be lined up over two small, inexperienced players throughout the game.
Beat the Backer Coverage
Interesting choice. Considering that the Packers tight ends have been as visual as the keys to Ray Charles. We know they are there. We can even hear them. But we haven’t seen them since that fateful night in the Motor City.
In 7 games, Justin Perillo and Richard Rodgers have combined for 11 receptions and only 101 yards. Neither has had a single game with over 2 receptions. Luckily for this duo, the Colts linebackers all struggle in coverage.
Outside linebacker Erik Walden, arguably the best defensive player on the team, is an intimidating run stopper. He is not a great pass rusher and lacks any true coverage skills. On the other side is 13 year veteran Robert Mathis, who is still a force off the edge and showcases one of the most dynamic spin moves in pass rushing history. However, with his age comes lack of snaps – similar to Julius Peppers’ reduced role in the Packers defense. Former Patriot, Akeem Ayers will step in and share snaps with Mathis, but he too gets lost in coverage.
Inside linebacker and former Brown, D’ Qwell Jackson has played 88.2% of the snaps and continues to hit as hard as ever. His coverage, however, has diminished in his 10th season. Edwin Jackson lines up inside with D’Qwell and is an undersized athlete who can run sideline to sideline and is arguably their best cover linebacker.
If there has ever been an opportunity for either one of these tight ends to get in the game, it will be Sunday against the Colts.
Slow Down Indy Receivers
It sure will be nice when the Green Bay secondary gets back to full health, or even medium health for that matter. Every week the Packers must head into the game questioning whether this leftover group of corners can cover a talented set of receivers. And every week we’ve walked away pleasantly surprised. This week will be another test. Indianapolis is loaded with speed, not size.
T.Y. Hilton is one of the most electric wide receivers in the game. A vertical runner who is hesitant to go into traffic, expect some deep passes thrown his way. Green Bay must focus on keeping Hilton in front of their corners.
Behind Hilton, is one of the fastest receivers in the game in Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett ran a 4.28 40-yard dash at the combine and is a serious blazer. Luckily, Dorsett suffered a hamstring injury in the loss to the Chiefs and will be a game time decision.
Donte Moncrief left last season with high expectations and the fear of a three-headed monster in Indianapolis. Unfortunately for Moncrief, injuries have hampered his production this season.
Green Bay Packers corner Demetri Goodson will miss the game with a concussion, but luckily Quinten Rollins is expected to return which will help in pass coverage. It will be a track meet and hopefully the Packers can keep up. They have accepted the challenge before.
Green Bay enters week 9 with a band-aid crew at the running back position and the secondary. Yet, they remain 4-3. If Green Bay can get pressure on Luck and not allow any game-breaking plays to T.Y. Hilton, then there is no reason that the Colts shouldn’t leave Lambeau Field with a loss and Green Bay a win. Like the game in Atlanta, expect a shootout. Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last five home games versus AFC teams, will remain on top.
Green Bay Packers – 38
Indianapolis Colts – 20