There was some audible Super Bowl chatter before the Green Bay Packers took on the Indianapolis Colts last August, but once that nationally televised game was in the books, and the Packers had destroyed the Colts to the tune of 59-24, Green Bay was the talk of the NFL and one of the NFC favorites to play in Dallas that coming February.
Fast forward exactly one year to Aug. 26, 2011, and the Packers and Colts will do the same dance Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a venue where the Packers have never played but that also happens to be the home of Super Bowl XLVI.
The Packers will attempt to acquaint themselves with a building they hope to play in twice this season, but they also want their performance Friday night to be the kind of jumping off point that last season’s dismantling of the Colts was.
The Colts actually raced out to a 17-7 lead at Lambeau Field before quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense took control of the game, scoring three touchdowns in a ten minute span during the second quarter which gave Green Bay a 28-17 half time lead.
Matt Flynn and the backups took over from there, and that’s when the contest really got out of hand. Flynn led the Packers on four scoring drives, including two touchdown passes, and Jason Chery returned a punt 75 yards for the Packers final score. By the time the dust had settled, Green Bay had scored 59 points, a post-merger NFL record for a preseason game.
Following that performance, the Packers’ Super Bowl bandwagon filled in a hurry. Part of that was due to what the Packers accomplished against the Colts on that August night.
Roughly six months later in Dallas, Rodgers and the Packers handsomely rewarded those who stayed on that bandwagon with a Super Bowl win.
Here are some things to watch in Friday’s game:
Getting a look at the running game
The play of the running backs will be and should be the main focus of most Friday night. The Packers have yet to get a good look at any of their four primary backs—Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green and Dimitri Nance—this preseason, mostly due to either injury or snap count, and the clock is ticking on opportunities.