2011 NFL Preseason Week 3: Green Bay Packers – Indianapolis Colts Preview: The First Of TWO Trips To Indy?

If the NFL regular season is like a Broadway production, then the third week of the preseason would be considered the dress rehearsal.

For the Green Bay Packers, their dress rehearsal takes place on the same stage they hope to perform their grand finale: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.

Before the Packers can hoist a fifth Lombardi Trophy however, the must play the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game.  The Packers are coming off a strong showing from their 28-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals last week and hope to build on the promise that was shown last week.

The Colts in the meantime are without their fearless leader, quarterback Peyton Manning, who continues to recover from offseason neck surgery.   The Colts are concerned Manning’s’ consecutive games streak is in jeopardy and brought in veteran Kerry Collins to lead the first team until Manning returns.

Breaking down the Colts

The Colts are terrible. In  the preseason that is.

For a team that is usually dominant during the regular season, the Colts struggle in the exhibition games. Why? Manning is such a machine that he usually doesn’t need to warm up at all.  The Colts have their offense mainly intact for so long that the players can read each other’s minds in their sleep.

That is how good Manning is.

With a formidable receiving corps including reliable veteran Reggie Wayne, young and promising Pierre Garcon, and dangerous tight end Dallas Clark, the Colts rival the Packers in offensive firepower when  Manning is under center.  Joseph Addai anchors the rushing attack, but this is a team that likes to move the ball through the air. With a solid offensive line, it is very tough to get to a Colts quarterback.

That said, the Packers will face a likely very rusty Collins in this game so they won’t have to worry about facing the four-time MVP unless they meet the Colts again on the same field in Super Bowl XLVI.

The Colts defense has traditionally been their Achilles heel.  Still, Dwight Freeney remains their most dangerous pass rusher.  Robert Mathis is solid along the line as well.  While not the strongest line in the league, the Colts defensive line will provide a challenge to the young Packers charged with protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.