Green Bay Packers Week 4 Preview: At Home Against the Denver Broncos
This will be just one of three home games the Packers have in their first eight weeks.
The Broncos are currently 1-2, and will face a monumental challenge in Aaron Rodgers and an explosive Green Bay offense.
Here's a look at how both teams look on paper and how the game should unfold.
In Their Last Meeting:
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Remember the good old days with Brett Favre, when he wasn't playing that ridiculous come-out-of-retirement game with everyone? When we were used to seeing him in green and gold and not purple and gold? Yeah, me too.
But that's another conversation for another time.
Favre was never much of one for wanting vengeance, but it's hard to imagine him playing in this game without at least a whimper of a thought of losing the Super Bowl this team nearly 10 years prior.
After a long defensive battle with Jay Cutler and the Broncos, Favre threw a beautiful 82-yard pass to Greg Jennings on the first play in overtime. It might be considered his last come-from-behind victory in a Packers uniform.
The Packers won, 19-13.
A Field Day for Rodgers and the Offense
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I'm not sure what the Packers will be incapable of doing on offense in this game. The Broncos currently rank as the 15th best defense in the NFL. I suspect that it will rank somewhere near the last in the league at the end of this game.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense appear to be establishing better chemistry as the season progresses, especially with the way Ryan Grant ran the ball and how Rodgers and Jermichael Finley connected for three touchdowns last week against Chicago.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga went down last week, and no word has yet been given for how long he will be out. However, Marshall Newhouse stepped in for Bulaga and never missed a beat. Should Bulaga miss his first start since taking over for Mark Tauscher, Newhouse will most likely get the nod to play.
The only concern I have is how the Packers deal with sack master Elvis Dumervial and second overall pick Von Miller. Miller came out of college with a huge knack for getting to the quarterback and has two sacks and two forced fumbles in just three games.
He has the potential to become one of the league's best young pass rushers in my humble opinion (I can't tell you how much I've fantasized about what would happen if the Packers had traded up for him).
Outside of the two, I can say that only Champ Bailey, who's starting to get up there in age, poses any significant threat on defense. The Packers should be able to move the ball at will in this game.
Why Kyle Orton Will Not Exploit an out of Sync Defense
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If you want to talk about a mismatch of the ages, look no further than the Broncos run game going up against the Packers run defense.
After beating Chicago, where they allowed a total of 13 rushing yards, the Packers now rank as the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of only 55 yards a game. The Broncos running backs, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, are averaging only 2.9 yards per carry together.
The Packers are struggling to get their secondary back on track, and the return of Tramon Williams didn't seem to have that much impact last week. They've allowed back-to-back 400-yard performances by the opposing quarterback, and 300 yards to a team that boasts an average receiving corps.
Orton will also be going up against a front seven that has 10 sacks on opposing quarterbacks, and his offensive line has allowed eight on the season already. The Broncos have two capable receivers in Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker, so I expect Orton to pass on just about every play if the Broncos have any hope of winning this game.
But despite the struggles the Packers have in their secondary, it's only a matter of time before the group gets their act together, and it could start as early as this week. A shut-out of the Broncos is not out of the question.
Note: Vic So'oto fully participated in practice last friday, but was inactive against Chicago. Barring another set back, expect So'oto to play in this game. Keep your eye on him.
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I can't really say that there's much Broncos have to be proud of in their special teams unit outside of their kicker, Matt Prater.
The Green Bay Packers don't have such a great special teams unit themselves, but it does host a few stars in Randall Cobb, Tim Masthay and Jarret Bush.
This matchup is really up in the air, but I give the slight edge to the Packers because they're playing at home.
When the season began, I felt strongly that the Carolina Panthers were the easiest team to beat on the Packers schedule. It now looks as if Denver will be that team.
I would like to say that the Packers are going to win 50-0, and the Packers certainly have the talent to do that. But I would say the Packers score 21 points in the first half, and then coach Mike McCarthy will simply put his foot on the brakes and do what he does best—go ultra-conservative.
Mike McCarthy doesn't like humiliating his opponent and probably doesn't feel the need to do so here. Don't be surprised if McCarthy pulls his starters out around the start of the fourth quarter.