It was certainly a rough way to end the game last weekend against the Falcons.
After going up 32-26, the Packers’ allowed a game-winning touchdown drive by Matt Ryan and the dynamic Falcons’ offense, which ultimately led to a Mohamed Sanu touchdown.
A major positive to take is how well the offense played despite not having Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, or any resemblance of a running game. Another positive is they proved me wrong about being able to “stop” Julio Jones, but the defense still allowed 33 points. Granted, Clay Matthews and the trio of corners were not there, but otherwise the defense came into the game healthy.
Now, with the Indianapolis Colts coming to Lambeau Field in another afternoon showdown, the defense needs to play better.
To start, cornerback Quinten Rollins is likely to return against the Colts, and although it likely won’t be a game changer for the Packers it is still better than having Demetri Goodson and Josh Hawkins out there. Cornerback Damarious Randall, TE Jared Cook, and RB James Starks are also either out or most likely out for the Colts game.
Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, Rollins, and Joe Thomas should be healthy enough to play. Outside of corner, the biggest concern for the Packers should be the offensive line, as T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter did not practice Wednesday. It is almost routine now (albeit a bad routine) for Lang to have some sort of injury every week that holds him out of either Wednesday or Thursday practice, but Tretter is listed as doubtful. That is concerning, because with Linsley still on the PUP list it means Don Barclay is the center for the Packers.
As for the Colts, they have a lot of players who are banged up, including WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Vontae Davis and S Mike Adams, but nobody on the 53 man roster is listed as worse than questionable.
As far as the match-ups go, the Packers’ offense should have no trouble moving the ball against the Colts. The Colts have the worst defense in football, in my opinion, including teams such as the Saints, Bears and Browns. Indy has a grand total of two interceptions this season, and one is by their best defender, CB Vontae Davis.
Outside linebacker Erik Walden has six sacks in eight games, the aging Robert Mathis is on the other side, and inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is a stud. But other than those guys, it’s really hard to tell who on this defense is a capable player. They are 21st in run defense and 31st in pass, and that is not what you want with a guy like Aaron Rodgers on the other side, especially with a full force of receivers with the expected return of Cobb and Montgomery. The Packers don’t have a running game, but they could throw every play and do fine.
The other side of the ball is going to determine if the 3-5 Colts have a chance to sneak out of Lambeau Field with a win.
Receiver T.Y. Hilton is a top-tier wideout, and veteran running back Frank Gore is defying age as a running back older than 30. But this offense revolves around Andrew Luck, and he is the reason that the Colts managed to get three wins this season.
The Packers defense has to slow down the running game and make this team one dimensional, which should happen with the Colts offensive line, and the offense needs to hold onto the ball as long as possible. Play keep away from Andrew Luck. Do those two things, which are strengths of the Packers, and this should be a rather easy win. I think the Packers can get through this game easily.
Final score: Green Bay 35, Indianapolis 21.
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images