First off, sorry for not doing this last week, really busy at work and just didn't have time to sit down and pick through the stats. Second, I don't exactly have a great record while doing this article (the Packers are 0-3 in weeks I do this and 3-0 in weeks I don't) so if that trend continues I'll change the name or something b/c being winless sucks lol.. Anyway I'm going to look at the core offensive positions and the defense yet again b/c (and I'm not looking at the numbers just yet) this looks to be a fairly similar matchup. Anyway.. on to the numbers...
Quarterbacks- Peyton Manning vs Aaron Rodgers... This is a great matchup between two quarterbacks at different points in there careers. Manning is much more established and has the hardware to boot while Rodgers is getting ready to start his 7 career game. While looking at the numbers you'll never believe who is actually ranked higher... Rodgers!! Rodgers and Manning are both top 10 in the most of the major passing categories; passing yards (R 7 M 10), yards per game (9 7), TDs (7 8), completions (6 9), and attempts (7 9). Heres the catch I wasn't expecting, in the other categories not just mentioned, Rodgers is top 10 in; Completion Percentage (8th), average per attempt (7th), and quarterback rating (7th). Now I'm not just ready yet to put Rodgers in Mannings category but I think we can all say Rodgers has been playing very good this year all and all (except TB and Dallas). I'm still going to give the advantage to Manning b/c he has done it longer and looked really good last week against Baltimore but this is closer than most would have thought... Advantage: Manning
Running Backs: Indy vs Grant. Lets be honest here, the Packers have the advantage here by default. I know our run defense hasn't been great (we'll get that portion of the show later on) but Indy is without there top runner and Dominic Rhodes has a smaller sample size b/c for most of the season he has been the backup to Addai who is out this week. But to be fair here is Rhodes stat line going into this weekend (32 att for 104 yards 3.3 yards per attempt 1 td). But in fairness to Rhodes lets take a look at last week which was his first game he took most of the snaps (25 att for 73 yds 2.9 per attempt 1 td). So as you can see he did most of his damage last week so we'll see what he can do this week against the Packers. Now on to Grant who over the last two games has looked considerable better. He currently has 359 rushing yards (59.8 per game) and is averaging 3.4 yards per carry. But for a quick breakdown here take a look at his splits for the first 4 games vs the last two; first 4: 55 att 186 yds 3.4 yards per carry.. Last 2 games: 51 att 173 yds 3.4 yds per carry. Now the yards per att hasn't gotten any better but McCarthy has made him a big part of the offense lately and I expect that trend to continue against a not so tough Indy rush defense.. Advantage: Grant
Wide Recievers: Harrison/Wayne vs Jennings/Driver: Now on paper doesn't that just look like a great matchup!! I'm excited for it thats for sure.. First off the main two here are Jennings and Wayne easily with both being ranked in the top 10 in most categories; yards (J 1st W 7th), yds per game (1st 5th), and tds (both tied at 5th). Both of these guys are the go to guys in the offense and the stats show that as both are putting up big numbers this year. Now I don't care what Indy fans will say to me but Harrison is on the decline and last weeks big won't change that opinion. For the season he has 20 rec for 247 yds which puts him at 49.4 yds per game and 3 tds. Driver on the other hand just has been losing some receptions to Jennings but has been a bigger part of the offense as of late. Driver on the season is at 25 rec for 295 yds which is 49.2 yds per game and 2 tds (last two games for those wondering 9 rec for 121, not great numbers but his receptions are up). One thing to point out for Indy, Anthony Gonzalez actually has better numbers this season then Harrison. He has 21 rec for 258 yds per game and no tds, he is avg 51.6 yds per game. I'm calling this a toss up b/c both teams Wideouts are so similar... Advantage: Toss Up
Defense: Indy vs Green Bay.. Both defenses are pretty similar in total yards per game that they are giving up, Green Bay is ranked 20th (332.2 yards per game) while Indy isn't far behind at 21st (334.4 yds per game). Passing defense both teams are pretty highly ranked, Green Bay is ranked 7th (178.8 yds per game) while Indy is one spot ahead at 6th (173.4 yds per game). Green Bay has an extra game and didn't get to face Flacco on one of those games either. Rushing defense has been the achilles heel for both teams and the rankings show that. Green Bay is ranked 27th (153.3 yards per game that they're giving up), but here is the fun thing, Indy is worse!! Indy is ranked 29th in rushing defense (161.0 yards per game). I'm giving the Packers defense the nod here mainly b/c of the home field advantage (we've gotta win it back eventually right??).. Advantage: Green Bay
To be completely honest I think this is going to be a shoot out. I know both teams give up the run and I expect both teams to keep the other defense honest and run the ball, but lets face it, these are two teams that rely on there passing games to win ball games. Unless Grant just starts going crazy (which is possible aganist this defense) I think the Packers will stick the usual game plan and look for both Jennings and Driver deep and short all day. Same for Indy in this respect, I expect them to test the Packers defense with Rhodes but at the end of the day for Manning to keep on throwing. I really think this is a big game going into the bye for the Packers, 4-3 is better than 3-4. I feel McCarthy will have the team ready and I think the Packers come out on top. Go Packers!! Pack 31 Colts 28