INDIANAPOLIS – After facing three straight Pro Bowl running backs to being the 2012 season (Chicago’s Matt Forte; Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson; Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew), the Colts’ pass defense now will be the focal point on Sunday in going up against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Sitting at 2-2 after four weeks, the Packers began to show signs last week of a passing attack that has been among the league’s best over the past several seasons.
Rodgers threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers beat the New Orleans Saints, 28-27, at Lambeau Field.
A 21-7 lead for the Packers quickly evaporated as New Orleans scored 20 unanswered points to take a 27-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Packers were able to overcome a fumble by backup quarterback Graham Harrell on the Saints’ two-yard line with 5:10 to go in the third quarter.
Rodgers returned to the game after an apparent eye injury and was five-of-six for 49 yards on the eventual game-winning scoring drive.
Just like he has done during his time as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, Rodgers is not afraid to spread the wealth among his receivers.
After four weeks, six different receivers have caught at least 12 passes, with receiver James Jones leading the team with three touchdowns.
Running back Cedric Benson is the main back for the Packers and has 64 carries for 228 yards though four games.
Defensively, the Packers create havoc from the outside thanks to linebacker Clay Matthews and his pass-rushing prowess. Matthews’ seven sacks tops all NFC defenders and he has been joined on the other side of the formation with first-round pick Nick Perry.
Former cornerback Charles Woodson once again has showed his versatility by moving to the safety position and helps lead a secondary that is sixth in the league in pass defense. Woodson has eight straight Pro Bowl nominations. He has 11 scoring interception returns in his career, one off the NFL mark of Rod Woodson.
The Packers spent their first six picks in April’s draft on defensive players, with many of those seeing significant playing time in their rookie campaigns.
2012 Record: 2-2, Third in the NFC North.
Head Coach: Mike McCarthy, seventh season as Packers head coach (65-35 overall regular season).
2012 NFL Rankings: Offense – Overall, 20th (333.5); Rushing, 25th (84.3); Passing, 15th (249.3) Defense – Overall, 9th (314.3); Rushing, 18th (113.0); Passing, 6th (201.3).
2012 Leading Passer: Aaron Rodgers (109-156 comp., 1,064 yards, 69.9 pct., 7 TDs, 3 INTs, 95.7 rating).
2012 Leading Rusher: Cedric Benson (64 carries, 228 yards, 1 TDs).
2012 Leading Receiver: Jordy Nelson (21 receptions, 260 yards, 1 TD).
2012 Leading Sacker: Clay Matthews (7.0).
2012 Turnover Breakdown: -1 (T19th).
2012 NFL Draft Results: Green Bay addressed its need on defense with six straight selections on that side of the ball to begin the 2012 draft. USC defensive end Nick Perry was the team’s first round pick and has made the switch to outside linebacker, providing the Packers with another pass rushing threat. The Packers then traded up in the second round to select defensive tackle Jerel Worthy from Michigan State. Green Bay made another trade to get into the back of the second round and select Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward.
2011 Review: The Packers were 15-1 last season in putting together one of the finest regular seasons the NFL has ever seen. Of the Packers’ 15 wins, only five came by seven points or less. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led seven Packers to the Pro Bowl.
However, Green Bay did not achieve all its goals in 2011, bowing out at home in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the New York Giants. The Packers had a season-high nine dropped passes and four turnovers in the 37-20 loss to the Giants.
Last time in Playoffs: 2011 season. Lost in the Divisional Playoffs to the New York Giants, 37-20.
Last time in Super Bowl: 2010 season. Won Super Bowl XLV, 31-25 over Pittsburgh.
Super Bowl Championships: Four – Super Bowl I (1966), Super Bowl II (1967), Super Bowl XXXI (1996) and Super Bowl XLV (2010).
2011 Pro Bowl Selections: Aaron Rodgers QB, John Kuhn FB, Greg Jennings WR, Scott Wells C, B.J. Raji DT, Clay Matthews OLB, Charles Woodson CB.