In case you hadn’t heard, the Green Bay Packers will host the Indianapolis Colts for the Super Bowl championship -- er, preseason Week 3 bragging rights -- Thursday night on ESPN. Let’s set up the game for you:
Location: Lambeau Field
Date/Time: Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Starters are expected to play at least a half and possibly into the third quarter. The Packers won’t have linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), and it’s possible that linebacker Brad Jones (shoulder), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (calf) and running back Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring) could also be sidelined. The status of receiver Greg Jennings (back spasms) is also uncertain.
Focal point: On a preseason scale, the Packers are taking this game seriously. Coach Mike McCarthy said the Colts “will be an excellent competition for us.” He added: “We want to come out and play to our standard. Play well at home and just all of the basic things you want to accomplish in Week 3 of the preseason.” More than anything, the Colts will offer a stiff measuring stick on the state of the Packers’ pass defense. Quarterback Peyton Manning and his offensive juggernaut will play into the third quarter, according to the Indianapolis Star. As we’ve discussed before, we’re not expecting the Packers to stop the elite quarterbacks they face; just slow them down a bit. It will be tough to get an exact gauge with Matthews and possibly Jenkins on the sideline, but a few stops should help from a confidence standpoint, if nothing else. ESPN’s Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will have the call. In the video below, Jaworski explains how he thinks the Packers’ passing game can improve in 2010.