clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hall of Fame Game 2016: Game preview for Packers vs. Colts

The Colts and Packers will kick off preseason play from the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After months of waiting, football is finally back. Well ... sort of.

When the Hall of Fame Game goes down in Canton, Ohio don't expect to see a duel between Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Instead, the majority of the game will be a battle of Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts backups.

Preseason games are especially important for the players on the bottom half of the roster, battling for one of the coveted 53 roster spots or 10 practice squad spots.

For the Packers and Colts, the game on Sunday is just the first of five preseason games, but it's a chance at first impressions and a time to shake off the rust that comes with about seven months away from the game.

Indianapolis is going full speed ahead with its starters after Luck suffered through an injury-filled 2015 season, but Green Bay's plan for Rodgers and Co. is a little more vague. The Packers quarterback made it clear that he isn't a fan of a fifth exhibition game, especially after Jordy Nelson tore his ACL last preseason, but whether that means he'll stay on the sideline remains to be seen.

For those on the field, shaking off the offseason rust and securing a spot on the roster are the goals, but staying healthy is paramount:

Matchup by the numbers

(2015 regular season statistics)

3 things to watch for

1. Luck's back in action: The first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft was the favorite to be the MVP during the 2015 regular season, but instead he dealt with a few different injuries, including a lacerated kidney that cost him the last seven games of the year. When he was on the field, Luck struggled to find a rhythm and finished with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and completed just 55.3 percent of his passes.

It was a quiet offseason for the Colts, and a bounce-back season for the team relies on a resurgent showing from Luck. He'll now have center Ryan Kelly helping to protect him up front, but we won't get to see that against the Packers. Pagano has already said the rookie will sit out due to a shoulder strain. But Sunday will at least be our first chance to see Luck try to get things back on track.

2. Hall of Famer interviews: Most preseason games are borderline unwatchable by the second quarter, but the Hall of Fame Game at least gives us some interesting interviews on the sideline with some of the all-time greats. Among those enshrined on Saturday night were Packers legend Brett Favre and Colts great Marvin Harrison.

3. Skinny Eddie Lacy: One of the more fun storylines of the 2016 offseason was Lacy's determination to lose weight through P90X. It worked completely, and now the former Alabama bruising back is almost unrecognizable. But how will that translate to the football field? Lacy made his name as a powerful running back who could blast through would-be tacklers, but will he still be the same now that he's significantly lighter?

How to watch

When: 8 p.m. ET

Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Field, Canton, Ohio


Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters

Odds: Even

Online: WatchESPN