INDIANAPOLIS – In their final home preseason game of 2011, the Indianapolis Colts will meet the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium Friday night at 8:00 EST.
After making the playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season in 2010, head coach Mike McCarthy and his Packers emerged from the sixth playoff seed to rattle off four straight wins.
In reaching Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Green Bay chalked up some road miles. The Packers emerged from the Wild Card round after a 21-16 victory at Philadelphia. The Eagles had won the NFC East and owned the conference's third seed. Green Bay then visited Atlanta and toppled the top seed. The Packers used an impressive first half on both sides of the ball to post an eventual 48-21 victory to move to the NFC Championship game. Green Bay completed its conference march by earning a 21-14 victory over Chicago, the NFC's two seed. It was the third straight triumph over a regular-season division champion. In Dallas, Green Bay captured the World Championship with a 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh.
McCarthy's .714 (5-2) winning percentage in the playoffs ties him with New England's Bill Belichick (15-6) and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin (5-2) for the highest among active NFL head coaches.
Known as an offensive-minded coach, McCarthy and New Orleans' Sean Payton are the only coaches in the NFL to have their offenses rank in the top 10 in total yardage in each of the past five seasons.
Since 1993, Green Bay and Indianapolis have made 13 appearances in the post-season, which places the clubs atop the NFL. The Colts rank No. 4 in the NFL in regular-season winning percentage during that span (.604) which is one spot behind Green Bay (.622).
The Packers' 25 wins the past two seasons, including the playoffs, are third in the NFL behind the Colts (26) and New Orleans (27).
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has emerged as one of the stars of the NFL, and his 98.4 passer rating ranks first in league history.
Behind Rogers in the backfield will be running back Ryan Grant, who only played in one game in 2010 due to an ankle injury. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Grant had consecutive 1,200-yard rushing campaigns.
A pair of Pro Bowl receivers is at Rogers' disposal in Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. The veteran Driver has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in six of the past seven seasons while Jennings has done it the last three years.
The Packers return four of five starters along an offensive line that started the final 16 games together in 2010.
Defensively, linebacker A.J. Hawk paced the Packers with 134 tackles in 2010. On the outside, Clay Matthews is fresh off Pro Bowl appearances in his first two seasons and finished fourth in the NFL last season with 13.5 sacks.
Cornerback Charles Woodson is an established veteran who headed off to his seventh Pro Bowl following the 2010 season. Woodson finished the season with career highs in tackles (105) and forced fumbles (five).
At the safety position, Nick Collins recorded his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
The Packers are 1-1 in the 2011 preseason with a 27-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns and a 28-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Colts visited Green Bay in the third week of the 2010 preseason. Green Bay triumphed, 59-24.