So that brings us to our second question. With Rodgers at the helm for the Packers, does that negate any emotional edge?
Rodgers won the NFL Most Valuable Player award last season. He's on the shortlist of best quarterbacks in the game today. He leads the NFL in completion percentage (69.9) so far this season and has thrown for over 1,000 yards in four games.
His vulnerability is his pass protection. Rodgers has been sacked 16 times this season. Mathis will undoubtedly bring some heat. He's the Colts' leader when it comes to pass rushing. Earlier this week, it seemed as if injured rushing partner Dwight Freeney could return. That would add some other emotion to the defensive attack. But a rational observer would have to expect that Freeney's likelihood of playing remains slim.
There's also the matter of the Colts secondary, which is banged up and will be without starting cornerback Vontae Davis. (The offense, incidentally, has its own issues on the line, which could lead to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck encountering Packers linebacker Clay Matthews a time or two.)
“(Rodgers) can make every throw,” Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers said. “He can put it in the tight spots, he can check, he makes audibles at the line of scrimmage and puts his offense in the best situations. He's mobile. He probably doesn't get a lot of credit for his mobility, but he can move out of the pocket and scramble for first downs. .He's one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in the league.”
Let me reduce Powers' assessment of Rodgers: He's elite.
Even though the Packers will be without wide receiver Greg Jennings, the Colts expect Rodgers to try to exploit the Colts passing game, sprinkled with some Cedric Benson runs to keep the defense honest.
“(They'll get) in shotgun and air it out,” Mathis said. “They'll do what they do well and we just have to stop it. Consequently, we have to do what we do better than what they do.”
It'll be an emotional game for the Colts, their first without Pagano. It would be a great story if they were able to take the game-winning football and present it to their coach.
Anything can happen in the NFL. The Colts could upset the Packers.
If they do, it'll happen through strong play, smart play and big plays, and not simply a huddle full of emotion.
MCT Information Services