On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich noted that his defense will face its ‘toughest test yet’ with Green Bay Packers superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his favorite target Davante Adams coming to town—headlining the Cheeseheads’ offense:
Colts coach Frank Reich does not mince words. On facing Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the Green Bay offense on Sunday: "Toughest test for our defense all year."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 18, 2020
One of the league’s best quarterback to wide receiver connections has already amassed 61 receptions for 741 receiving yards and 9 touchdown receptions during 7 games in 2020—including this ridiculous touchdown snag last weekend:
While Adams isn’t a lock to play on Sunday with an ankle injury, it looks like he’s more likely to play than not at this juncture.
The Colts secondary is banged up itself, as both starting standout slot cornerback Kenny Moore (ribs) and rock solid safety Khari Willis (ribs) were working with rehab staff on the sidelines—as neither actually participated in team practice on Wednesday.
If both of those Colts’ defensive backs are out, the bad news is that Adams has done quite a bit of damage in the slot this season for the Packers offense, catching 26 receptions for 257 receiving yards (9.88 ypr. avg) and 5 touchdown receptions in 68 slot snaps (via PFF).
Moore has surrendered a mere 25 receptions for 295 receiving yards (11.8 ypc. avg.), a touchdown, and 2 interceptions, as well as an NFL passer rating of 72.4 during 280 coverage slot snaps.
Meanwhile, Willis has also performed well in slot coverage, holding the opposition to 9 receptions for 55 receiving yards (6.11 ypr. avg.), 3 touchdowns, an interception, and an NFL passer rating of 74.8 during 302 slot coverage snaps.
The good news is that backup cornerback T.J. Carrie has filled in admirably in Moore’s absence, limiting opposing receivers to just 1 reception for 5 receiving yards and an NFL passer rating of 42.4 on 19 total coverage slot snaps.
However, regardless of where Adams lines up, he’s going to be a tough problem for the Colts’ secondary to solve.
So is his quarterback too, 2x NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who needs no introduction and at age 36, is playing about as well as any top quarterback in the game right now—with 26 touchdowns to 3 interceptions on the season.
Rodgers still moves well for his advanced football age and can make any throw from seemingly every platform—having as much arm talent as any quarterback out there (besides maybe the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes prime):
Frank Reich on Aaron Rodgers (Packers-Colts on Sunday): "Arm strength to make every throw from every arm angle, and he gets it out faster than anyone I've ever seen. And his feet don't have to be right because of his arm strength. He can put the ball wherever he wants."— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) November 18, 2020
Justin Houston paints Aaron Rodgers as the total package. Calls the QB "a coach on the field with talent." He can move and extend plays and has one of the strongest arms in the league. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) November 18, 2020
To their credit, the Colts know with their frequent Cover 2 and Cover 3 zone looks that it’s going to take a total team effort to slow down Rodgers, Adams, and the rest of the Packers’ prolific attack.
That means pass rush, coverage, and having the Colts defenders stay disciplined and play fast, smart, and instinctive winning football:
Had a chat with Colts CB Xavier Rhodes today, who had plenty of battles with Aaron Rodgers while in Minnesota. He was adamant on this:— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 18, 2020
"This is not an individual game Sunday. This is a team game. An entire defense type game. We need all 11 — literally — to beat this team."
For the Colts, it’s ‘Game on!’ against the Green Bay Packers come Sunday late afternoon—and it’s going to take each and every Horseshoe defensively.