This is a big game for the Packers as they try to ride the momentum they created by beating the Seahawks last week in Seattle to break a three-game losing streak. The Packers are tied with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings atop the NFC North, although the Packers do have a 2-0 divisional record. If the Packers can get to the bye week with a 4-3 record, they will have an opportunity to get their injured players more healthy to get ready to make a playoff run.
Manning has played in the NFL since 1998, but he has faced the Packers only twice. The Packers beat Manning and the Colts 26-24 at Lambeau in 2000, while the Colts beat the Packers in a shootout in Indianapolis 45-31 in 2004. Look for this game to be a shootout, as well.
Manning looked as good as he has been throughout his Hall of Fame career last week. He also started clicking with receiver Marvin Harrison for two touchdown passes, which hasn't happened for awhile. The Packers need to pressure Manning, as you can be sure that he will target cornerback Tramon Williams as often as possible.
Meanwhile, in the other big news of the week, Packers general manager Ted Thompson thought he had a deal in place to acquire tight end Tony Gonzalez from the Chiefs. Just before the trade deadline, however, Kansas City GM Carl Peterson blew up the deal by asking for a second-round pick instead of the agreed-upon third-rounder.
Thompson has a reputation for making few trades or free-agent acquisitions, but he has an excellent track record for most of those transactions.
Thompson acquired Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett via free agency. He traded Javon Walker for a second-round pick that turned into a draft bonanza in 2006 because of other draft pick trades. That draft class landed A.J. Hawk, Daryn Colledge, Greg Jennings, Jason Spitz, Will Blackmon, Tony Moll and Johnny Jolly.
Thompson acquired running back Ryan Grant last year just before the regular season from the Giants for a sixth-round pick. That was a great move, but the jury is out on a trade that sent defensive tackle Corey Williams to Cleveland for a second-round draft pick that was used on quarterback Brian Brohm.
And then, of course, there is the Brett Favre trade to the New York Jets. The compensation starts out as a fourth-round draft pick, but the Packers figure to get a third-round pick (Favre needs to play 50 percent of the snaps) or a second-rounder (if Favre leads the 3-2 Jets to the playoffs). The Packers would land a first-rounder if Favre plays 80 percent of the snaps and leads the Jets to a Super Bowl.
A lot of Packers fans remain upset about the trade, especially with the way Favre is playing. But Favre just turned 39. Rodgers is not yet 25. But, until the Lombardi Trophy returns, Thompson always will be viewed by some as the guy who traded the legend.
With most of the season yet to be played, the Packers can make Thompson look very good or very bad depending on their performance from here on out. The same goes with Brett and the Jets. That one is a double-edged sword, though. If Favre continues to play well, some Packers fans will roll their eyes. But the more successful the Jets are, the Packers keep getting better compensation in the Favre trade.
Time will tell, but I have a feeling this season will be one that fans will look back on with the surreal atmosphere. Some will have good memories, while others will have sad thoughts. But the season has a long way to go, and lots of scenarios are possible. All I can say is that I can't wait to watch the season unfold like a drama with all the various actors and performers.
Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org