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NFL preseason betting action continues with the start of the third week of play on Thursday night, as the Green Bay Packers look to prove that they belong in the same discussion with the defending AFC champions, the Indianapolis Colts.
Indianapolis Colts @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5)
Thursday, August 26th
8:00 ET, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Colts Notes: It feels as though this is the only preseason game annually that the Colts have a good chance of winning. It has been fairly clear all preseason long that Indianapolis could once again really care less whether or not it wins its preseason games, as demonstrated by the fact that it has five INTs thrown this season and has played incredibly sloppy ball offensively. QB Peyton Manning is expected to play at least a quarter and half and potentially into the second half as well, as this is his one legitimate tune up game for the regular season. It's been a fairly ho hum regular season for the future Hall of Fame signal caller, as he has completed 16-of-25 passes for 182 yards with a TD and an INT in limited action. Expect to hear a lot of the name of WR Anthony Gonzalez this week. Manning is going to want to get one of his safety blankets in top form before the start of the regular season, as the former Ohio State Buckeye missed virtually the entire 2009 campaign. The real reason that Indianapolis is 0-2 both SU and ATS though is its defense. Allowing 35.5 points per game is inexcusable, especially in the preseason. The lowly Buffalo Bills made a mockery out of the defense for the Colts the entire game last week, perhaps showing the lack of rest from playing just four days after a 37-17 beat down at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
Packers Notes: The worst defense in the preseason in the league is going to get a huge test from the second ranked offense in the preseason. Green Bay is averaging 380.5 yards per game (2nd) and 25.5 points per game (6th). It ranks fifth in both passing yards per game (240.5) and rushing yards per game (140.0), and is primed to do plenty of damage. After picking apart both the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks, QB Aaron Rodgers has his sights set on Manning and the Colts offense, trying to prove that Green Bay belongs in that top echelon of offensive clubs this year. So far, so good, that's for sure. Rodgers has only thrown four incomplete passes all preseason against three TD passes. His 275 passing yards in less than a full game's worth of work also leaves him amongst the top passers in the entire league to date. Rodgers wouldn't be anywhere without his running game, though. RB Brandon Jackson is coming off of a fantastic game in which he rushed for 80 yards, while both Quinn Porter and Kregg Lumpkin have done plenty of damage as well. Porter is going to be out of action this week with an ankle injury, while Lumpkin's hamstring might keep him out as well. That's going to mean more work for starting RB Ryan Grant, who only has 25 yards on eight carries in the preseason. Green Bay has picked off four passes so far in the preseason and will hope to add to the quarterbacking woes of the Colts.
The Final Word: Even though the Colts should be playing the majority of the first half to really win, Green Bay is going to be doing the exact same thing. Yes, this NFL betting line is insinuating that the Packers are essentially on par with Indianapolis on a neutral field, but that would be if we discounted the fact that they will be favored by at least a field goal in all likelihood in the second half. Would you make Green Bay a pick 'em at home against the Colts? We certainly wouldn't. Back the Pack in Week 3.
Prediction: Packers 31 – Colts 17