Date: Sunday, August 7, 2016
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT)
Location: Canton, OH
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN and the ESPN app
The Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers open the NFL Preseason in the annual Hall of Fame Game. Both teams will not be very concerned about the scoreboard, but that does not mean this game is unimportant.
Both teams will be very anxious to see how their rookies and younger players perform in their first live-game action of the season. Also, the Colts and Packers are probably going to give these players a lot of reps because neither side wants to play their starters much.
The Colts have decided to play their starters in this preseason opener. However, viewers should expect most of them to only play one offensive or defensive series.
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Meanwhile, the Packers are taking a completely different approach. They have chosen not play a majority of their key players. Reportedly, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley and Eddie Lacy are among the Packers who not participate in Sunday’s game.
One key storyline for the Indianapolis Colts is the return of Andrew Luck. Although Luck will probably play one series at the most, it will still be nice to see the franchise quarterback take the field. Luck missed the final seven games with a lacerated kidney and missed nine games total in 2016.
Aside from that storyline, this preseason game is a showcase for the Colts’ backup players and rookies. The Colts have ton of young players and rookies battling for open spots on the 53-man roster. It will be interesting to see who steps up and makes some noticeable plays on both sides of the ball.
Specifically, the Colts’ running backs, offensive linemen and outside linebackers will be the most intriguing position groups to watch.
Offensively, the Colts need to start determining their depth behind running back Frank Gore. The coaching staff likes rookie Josh Ferguson, but he is still an unproven player. At the same time, the Colts are still working out the numerous kinks in their offensive line.
Defensively, the Colts are hoping for a young outside linebacker to stand out in the preseason. They lack depth behind Robert Mathis, Erik Walden and Trent Cole. A young player like Earl Okine, Ron Thompson or Trevor Bates could make a huge statement with a good performance Sunday.
It is ridiculously hard to predict a final score in a preseason game. However, both sides will at least get one touchdown, but it will not be a high-scoring contest.
Honestly, the score does not really matter to either side. Both teams obviously want to score as a many points as they can, but points are not their primary goal. Both coaching staffs will be more concerned about evaluating every player and keeping everyone healthy.
Prediction: Packers 16, Colts 13