Injuries, inconsistent pass defense, a lack of a running game and more injuries have plagued the Packers throughout the season.
Green Bay is missing key players in almost every position, but most evidently in the secondary and in the backfield. Not having star players such as Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, Eddie Lacy and James Starks has truly slimmed down the depth chart for the Packers.
The devastating loss last week to the Atlanta Falcons illustrated how the Packers clearly need to address these issues going into this week’s matchup against the 3-5 Indianapolis Colts.
On the bright side, Rollins, Cobb, Matthews, Montgomery, and even Jared Cook are all listed as questionable to play for this game, which could help to fill the gaps in the Packers depth chart if even a few of them could suit up.
While the Packers are favorites to win this week’s game, nothing is guaranteed when playing against Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Despite the lackluster start to the season, the Colts could look to do what the Falcons did to the Packers last week, which is to throw the ball, a lot. Matt Ryan tore apart the Packers banged-up secondary, and it is safe to say that Andrew Luck will try his best to do the same.
The Colts have the third-most pass attempts in the league, and when Luck gets time to throw the ball to his favorite target, T.Y. Hilton, opposing teams had better watch out. Hilton is sixth in the league in receptions, and fourth in receiving yards, making him an important matchup for the Packers to take account of.
Timing for Luck has been a problem for the Colts however, as Luck has been sacked at an astonishing rate of about 3.8 times per game, more than any other quarterback in the league.
With Clay Matthews hopefully returning to the lineup this week, the Packers will need to focus on getting pressure on Luck, and continuing their dominance in defending the run, where they rank second in the league giving up just 74.4 rushing yards per game.
The problem with that statistic is that the only top tier running backs the Packers have played this year have been Ezekiel Elliot for the Cowboys and Devonta Freeman for the Falcons, and Elliot torched the Packers for 157 yards.
Frank Gore, the Colts’ running back, has the eleventh most rushing yards in the league this season, so the Packers reputation as an elite run defense will be tested.
On the offensive end for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers appears to be getting it together after a four touchdown performance without two of his top receivers.
The Colts are by no means a dominant defensive team. In fact, they rank second to last in the league in pass defense, giving up 287.8 yards per game. Look for Rodgers to have another solid game this week, even if he is still throwing to Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis.
The running game for the Packers is a mystery. With Lacy and Starks injured, Knile Davis gone, and Ty Montgomery still questionable, the Packers are down to using fullback Aaron Ripkowski and Davante Adams in the backfield, and relying on Aaron Rodgers to use his legs.
This game will more than likely be similar to that of last week against the Falcons, with both quarterbacks getting their fair share of throws, and very limited defense.
Packer fans should keep an eye on the injury report leading up to Sunday to see how many of the players listed as questionable will actually suit up.
Predicted score: Packers 32, Colts 27