Two teams with big ambition – and offences to match – face off Sunday as the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts do battle in the annual Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The official preseason kickoff may not be heavy on big-name players, but it should feature plenty of young talent looking to secure a spot on their respective 53-man rosters.
While neither team is expected to give much of its overall strategy away, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has already said that all of his projected starters will see at least some action. That includes quarterback Andrew Luck, who signed one of the biggest deals in NFL history over the offseason and will be looking to put the memory of a dismal 2015 season behind him. The same goes for Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and may miss this game, as well.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: This game opened as a Pick ‘Em, but has since shifted in favor of the Colts. The total has dipped a whopping 2 1/2 points from its opener of 36 1/2.
WEATHER REPORT: Sunny skies are expected in Canton, with game-time temperatures sitting in the high-70s and dropping throughout the evening. Wind will blow across the length of the field from the north at 5 mph.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “A substantial line move in this game as the Colts have gone from Pick’em to a 3-point favorite, which is obviously a very key number. The main reason is because Green Bay will likely be without their top 2 quarterbacks in this game as both Aaron Rodgers (rest) and backup Brett Hundley (ankle) are not expected to play. This means the Packers will have to rely on a pair of undrafted rookie quarterbacks in Marquise Williams and Joe Callahan for the entire game.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (2015: 10-6, 2nd in NFC North): Nelson likely won’t see the field Sunday as he recovers from tendinitis in his left knee – likely a compensation issue stemming from a torn right ACL that cost him the entire 2015 campaign. Fans shouldn’t expect to see much of QB Aaron Rodgers, either – the Packers are notoriously careful with their star players early in the preseason, and having a fifth exhibition contest on the schedule will likely mean a parade of backups in Canton on Sunday.
ABOUT THE COLTS (2015: 8-8, 2nd in AFC South): Indianapolis will be without at least one of its key contributors Sunday, with rookie center Ryan Kelly on the sidelines with a strained left shoulder. Having an extra preseason game allows Pagano to rest Kelly completely and still get him into an optimal number of exhibition situations. Luck, RB Frank Gore and WRs T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Philip Dorsett will be among the offensive starters to see action, though it won’t be much.
WAG OF THE DAY: Olivia Munn is not only one of the hottest actresses in the world – she’s also the girlfriend of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
* The Packers have scored just three points in their previous three Hall of Fame games.
* The teams have played to the over in each of their last five meetings.
* The underdog has covered the spread in four of the last five encounters.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Public opinion is nearly split on this game, with 54 percent of Covers Consensus users going with Green Bay and 51 percent opting for the Under.