During week 10, the Green Bay Packers played some uninspired football and snuck past a one-win Jacksonville Jaguars team 24 to 20. Winning is winning in the NFL but Green Bay will have to put in a better effort if they want to beat the Indianapolis Colts. They themselves soundly beat their division rival Tennessee Titans last week and now sit with a 6-3 record. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s Know the Foe: Colts Week 11.
Up and Down Offense
While the Colts aren’t offensive juggernauts, they do find ways to score and present problems for opponents. Week-to-week the offensive success naturally relies on quarterback play. Philip Rivers was an off-season sign with the thought that he can take them to the promised land. The 38-year-old might not have the arm he did in the past and he doesn’t move well, he still can beat you with his IQ. He can read a defense and find the weakness to exploit. Rivers has shredded the Packers’ defense over the years.
As has the run game. When lead back Marlon Mack was lost before the season started, the Colts were forced to go another route. University of Wisconsin rookie Jonathan Taylor was asked to carry a heavier workload earlier than desired. Taylor has struggled on the season with a 3.8 yards a carry average and 4 touchdowns. He has seen his carries decrease and snaps given to Nyheim Hines. He is also at under 4.0 yards of carry, but Hines does offer more in the passing game. Green Bay’s run defense needs to win the ground battle.
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The Colts wide receiver group is lacking a true playmaker. T.Y. Hilton used to be that guy but injuries have taken a toll on him. The 5’10” in 183 lb. Hilton has yet to go over a hundred yards or find the endzone this year. Marcus Johnson has also been quiet and rookie Michael Pittman only flashed. Pittman is coming off his best game against Tennessee with seven catches for 101 yards.
The Colts do like to get their tight ends involved in the red zone. Seasoned vet Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox are big dudes that can be a problem near the goal line. They both have a pair of scores while Trey Burton also has one.
Though the Colts offense overall hasn’t set the world on fire, their offensive line is really solid. This group has a nasty streak and enjoys playing smash-mouth football. The top enforcer is left guard Quenton Nelson. The third-year pro is a mauler tailor-made to bully defenders. He already is one of the best guards in football. Furthermore, 10-year vet Anthony Castonzo at left tackle and Ryan Kelly at center are both as dependable as they come. The right side has been just as good. Braden Smith has gotten better each season while Mark Glowinski is a solid guard. Green Bay will need to bring its A-game to beat this group.
The Colts defense has been stingy in 2020. They are top 3 against the run, pass, and in scoring. The group might not have that one filter but as a unit, they are disciplined and swarm to the football. The Colts traded with San Francisco to get DeForest Buckner and he has been good. While he only has 2.5 sacks on the season, he is strong against the run. Grover Stewart is also inside and has graded well according to PFF. Justin Houston still needs to be accounted for off the edge while Denico Autry leads the team with six sacks from the other end.
Again this week, the Packers will face a talented linebacker group. Darius Leonard has battled some injuries this season but he is a beast. He is a tone-setter and good at shedding blocks to get to ball carriers. Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke are the other linebackers and are underrated. Both of these young players are assignment sure and have a nose for the football. This front seven is very impressive in how they play together and within the system.
Packers Pass Plan?
The Packers’ best bet might be to attack the secondary and find favorable matchups. After an atrocious year in Minnesota, Xavier Rhodes has bounced back nicely with the Colts. At 30 years old, Rhodes still can get it done. Though Davante Adams has had success against him, Rhodes has the size and tools for the match up. Rock Ya-Sin is on the other side and he’s had an up-and-down year. He has allowed 25 receptions throughout 2020. In the slot is Kenny Moore with two interceptions and a sack on the season.
Free safety, rookie Julian Blackmon has been a nice addition. The third-round pick plays a lot of center field and has two picks thus far. Khari Willis is at strong safety and he is more of the box safety. Willis is a sure tackler it is really good at reading place in front of him. At times he can get over aggressive and might be a guy to try and beat with a double move. Overall this defense will be a challenge and the Packers will need to be creative and execute to have success.
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