Mathis & Freeney The Colts switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 this year and there are signs of growing pains. Indy has only seven sacks on the year but four have come from Robert Mathis and the Colts get Dwight Freeney back after a four week absence. Freeney played only eight snaps Week 1 and he is not at 100% but could still be disruptive. Since giving up eight sacks in the first half to Seattle the Packers offensive line has not allowed a sack. As long as the Packers keep those two in check Aaron Rodgers should have another big day.
Back on April 2nd I noted the uncanny connection between Kentucky basketball and Yankees baseball. The last six times Kentucky won the NCAA Tournament the New York Yankees followed suit by winning the World Series that October.
Stopping Sproles As noted yesterday, Darren Sproles is a very explosive player and can beat you by running, receiving and returning. The Saints, like the Packers, haven't been able to duplicate their offensive excellence of last season. However, a big day from Sproles could put the Saints on track. Sproles must be accounted for and can't be given chances to make explosive plays.
Welcome to the first Wisconsin Sports Weekend top 25 of 2012. As many of you know I have a disdain for preseason polls which emphasis perception and what teams did last year. I feel it takes three weeks to get a feel for the landscape so without further ado:
This is not the Packers were used to seeing. Cedric Benson carried the ball 11 times for 45 yards. Not typical first half numbers from a high-flying offense. Perhaps it is the absence of Greg Jennings, the weak pass protection or something else. Yet despite the offense looking off track the Packers have 13 points on the board.
Run Game Against Indianapolis Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for 122 yards on 28 carries and there's no reason to think Chicago won't try to run the ball that much again this week. The Packers run defense was an issue in preseason and it certainly didn't look good against San Francisco.
Sure, you can talk about the officiating. Sure, you can talk about the one-in-a-million 63 yard field goal to end the first half. But the reality is this game was about execution. When it came time to execute the 49ers did it better than the Packers.
Alex Smith Which Smith will show up? The one we saw last January against the Saints, the one we saw against the Giants or a completely different Smith altogether? It's no secret the 49ers wanted to get more weapons around Smith. The question now is can Smith generate some offense with Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and AJ Jenkins now in the mix? Look for the Packers to blitz and force Smith to make throws. Also as an added wrinkle, see if the 49ers use backup QB Colin Kaepernick in a Wildcat role.
Here we go. The third preseason game is traditionally the dress rehearsal for the regular season and there has been much concern about the state of the Packers after two games. Here's a few things to look for Thursday night:
Welcome to the NFL The first at what will be many looks at the rookies and the first glimpse at how far they’ve come since mini camp. For guys like Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy it’s a chance to evaluate if they’re ready to contribute. Tonight is also the first look at several veterans who are new or will be in a new role in 2012. A few others to keep an eye on: MD Jennings and Jeff Saturday