Week 3 of the Preseason: the Dress Rehearsal. This is normally the week where starters play into the second half, they run a few more different formations, and use this as the final tune-up before the regular season starts. Unfortunately for the Colts, however, is that the starting Quarterback for Week 1 will not be playing tonight, whether it be Kerry Collins or Peyton Manning.
Last year the Packers obliterated the Colts in Week 3 of the Preseason, scoring 59 points on the Colts at Lambeau Field. It should have been the first sign that it just wasn't going to be the Colts year. Tonight we get to see a "rematch" of sorts, and honestly, it could end up very similar to last year. Everyone should fully expect the Colts to not score many points tonight (they've only scored 13 so far in two preseason games, and the Packers have a better defense than both teams), but nobody should whine about it. The Colts have made it a (bad) habit of not caring about Win/Loss record in the Preseason, so you shouldn't as well.
What we can do, however, is look at specific parts of the game, and look for continuing positives, or some improvements in certain areas that'll carry over:
- Continuing improvement in the Running Game: Clearly the Packers defense won't have to respect the pass too much, but I think the Colts should spend more plays tonight running the ball, especially with Donald Brown, Delone Carter, and the first team Offensive Line. Word is Ryan Diem will play RG Friday night, so Jeff Linkenbach should get the start at RT. I'd really like to see Ben Ijalana get some snaps with the rest of the starters, but I'm not getting my hopes up. A solid 4.0 to 4.5 per carry, along with a couple short yardage pickups, will make me happy. The Colts may need to have these guys step up their game considerably in short order.
- Continued Solid Pass Protection: Both Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky have had ample time in the pocket to make plays, with most sacks coming because of holding the ball too long, or good coverage down the field. It's tough to tell whether the Packers will play a vanilla 3-4, sending 4 or 5 guys on passing downs, or mix it up with blitzes from all over. I hope it's the latter, so we'll see how the line does against them.
The game will be televised nationally on CBS at 8:00 ET, and we'll have an open thread up sometime later this evening. No need for streams tonight, and I get to watch in HD (finally). I think there will be a decent crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium, mainly to see the opposing team, but still good to have butts in seats. Hopefully we see good things in these six areas, even if we don't see it on the scoreboard. What else are you looking for tonight?