Through four weeks the Packers have won the two games that they needed to win and lost the two other games. It’s time for the Packers to win a game when their backs aren’t against the wall. This week’s game against the Colts is a prime opportunity for such a win. The Colts are a team that has definitely improved, but are still not quite as talented as the Packers right now. Best news yet is that Andrew Luck, while being about as good as advertised, is still a rookie and can be prone to some errors.
Here are the keys to victory for this weekend’s contest…
1. Protect Aaron Rodgers. The Colts have a secondary is looking a little worse for wear this weekend with starting corner Vontae Davis ruled out as well as cornerback Justin King. This could mean very good things for the Packers who will want to primarily attack through the air, but to do that they will need to make sure Rodgers is standing long enough to throw a pass or two. Last week the pass protection looked good against a rather toothless Saints pass rush, this week will be a better test with Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney coming off the edges. Hopefully Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga are up to the task.
2. Don’t forget about Cedric Benson. Benson is a type of back that the Packers haven’t really worked with in a very long time. He’s a guy who needs about ten touches to get a feel for the game and get warmed up and then another ten to fifteen to break a defense. Unfortunately the Packers typically stop giving him the ball around 15-19 carries. He’s done well, and has probably be the most consistent form of offense for the Packers. Give him the rock a few more times and take a little pressure off of Rodgers at the same time. It should also be noted that this should be done early rather than late as well. This will help with the third key….
3. Stay patient on offense. If I were to say that the Packers miss Joe Philbin on anything it has to be the patience that he must of infused into this offense. The Packers seem much itchier for that big play to break open a game rather than just beating down a team. When the Packers do switch to that more patient form of offense they are successful (see the second half of the Seahawk game), but when they try to get out to a lightning fast start it is a bit rougher (see the first half of the Seahawk game). The defense should give the Packers some breathing room this week with a weak Colt run attack and a young QB, so take a bit of time and be sure to wear the Colts down instead of trying to run a shock and awe campaign.
4. Don’t just sit back in zone. The Packers are a stronger man to man coverage team than a zone coverage team. They also have the safeties to be able to cover some of the young tight ends of the Colts in Charles Woodson and Jerron McMillian. This means that they should play the physical man to man that the Packers were known for a couple years ago, rather than the soft zone the last two years (and 2009) which got the defense carved up.
5. Go Psycho. On those blessed times that the Colts are using third and long the best package here has got to be the psycho package. I’m talking the new look psycho with Worthy playing the down lineman and using Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, and Dezman Moses. This is a package that should confuse Andrew Luck and be able to get the defense a big play or two. It also allows the Packers to get some of the exciting young defensive talent they have make plays which is always exciting to watch.