It’s hard to get too excited about any game that takes place in August, but this one is a little different than most. There is a pretty decent chance that what we see here could be a preview of the Super Bowl. The Colts are favored to win the big prize, and the Packers are tied as the second choice out of the NFC with the Vikings and behind the Cowboys. It’s also a chance to see two public teams that don’t play each other very often clash. They have played only three regular season contests in the last dozen years. Green Bay has the 2-1 edge straight up and ATS and all three games have gone over, for what that’s worth.
The game will be played on Thursday, Aug.26 at 8 pm ET at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Weather can obviously be a factor in Green Bay later in the season, but it won’t be here - the forecast is for a mild and clear night with no chance of rain and only light winds.
NFL Predictions: Quarterback Matchup
The biggest story when either of these teams play is obviously their quarterbacks, so this is the best place to start looking at this game. To get a sense of where the players are at is very hard because the two teams approach the preseason so differently.
The Packers are playing this preseason like it matters, and it probably does as they try to set a different tone from the one that saw them get off to such a disappointing start last year. They have had the second best offense in the league so far in the preseason, and Aaron Rodgers is a big part of the reason. He has played with surgical precision so far, completing 20 of 24 passes for 275 yards and three TDs with no picks. He leads the league in passer rating, and has looked nearly as good as he is expected to look next month.
The Colts, by contrast, have mailed in the preseason. That’s not surprise because no team treats the preseason with more contempt than the Colts. they have won just four of their last 24 preseason games, and they obviously don’t seem worried about it. Last week they managed to lose to Buffalo. Despite playing such a hopeless team Manning was a pedestrian 8-of-15 for 91 yards with a TD and a pick. The Colts have put together just the 26th best offense of the preseason, but since their playbook is nothing like it will be, and the starters that do play play sparingly and with disinterest, that’s no surprise.
Both quarterbacks will likely play at least the first half, and perhaps a little more. Based on history and what we have seen so far it’s easier to expect a good effort from Rodgers than it is from Manning, so what would normally be a tight QB contest might not be as much of one here.
Colts vs. Packers Betting Odds and Line Movement
Green Bay is favored by 3.5 points, which is fairly typical for a preseason game. The total is at 44.5. The line seems steady at this number, though action is heavily on the Packer so we might see it move to 4 or 4.5 by kickoff.
Colts vs. Packers Betting Trends
All four games played by these teams have gone ‘over’ the total this preseason
Indianapolis is just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 preseason games
A loss here would guarantee a sixth straight preseason with a losing record for the Colts
Colts vs. Packers Injuries
Green Bay’s biggest area of concern is linebacker. Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, and Clay Matthews all missed the game last week, and all are uncertain here. Linebacker should be a clear strength for the Packers this year, but we likely won’t see that Thursday.
The Colts will likely see Pierre Garcon in the lineup for the first time after injuries forced hm out of two games Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, and Jerraud Powers will not be playing.
NFL Predictions: Colts vs. Packers Picks and Predictions
Both quarterbacks are likely to be reasonably focused in the first half here. That should make the game close until the break, though I give Green Bay an edge because of the location and because Rodgers seems to be more bought into the preseason and has played better. In the second half the Packers have a solid edge at quarterback and on offense in general, and should be able to establish themselves in this. The biggest difference is that if the going gets tough Green Bay is likely to fight for the game more than the Colts. Green Bay will win the game and cover the spread, and the total will go ‘over’ thanks to a strong first half.
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