Broncos vs. Packers: Green Bay Prepares to Face Unfamiliar Opponent in Denver

Michael DulkaContributor ISeptember 29, 2011

The face of the Denver Broncos, Von Miller.
The face of the Denver Broncos, Von Miller.Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers host the Denver Broncos in a Week 4 matchup at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

The Packers have only played the Broncos 12 times in their history as the two teams first met in 1971. The current all-time record rests in favor of the Broncos at 6-5-1. An unfamiliar foe creates a different sort of challenge for the Packers in the first matchup between the two at Lambeau Field since 2003.

The last meeting between the two teams took place in 2007, as Brett Favre threw a walk-off 82-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime. Favre outplayed a now very familiar Jay Cutler, who led the Broncos with 264 passing yards.

It goes without saying, the makeup of the two franchises as drastically changed since 2007. 

The now Aaron Rodgers-led Packers will begin their series of play against the AFC West for the first time with Rodgers under center. Under center for the Broncos, Kyle Orton is the starter as Tim Tebow remains third string.

The Packers have seen Orton as an opposing quarterback during his time with the Chicago Bears.

Green Bay will be forced to prepare for this game differently than a time it is more familiar with. When asked about his approach, Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy had this to say:

"Schematically, you look at the history of John Fox, you look at the history of the coordinators. We've done that. In our offense study with the coaches, we spent a lot of time on first four opponents. We did background on those guys, we've broken down all their preseason tape and we'll focus on their first three games."

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Running back Tony Fisher #40 of the Green Bay Packers breaks a tackle against the Denver Broncos during a game on December 28, 2003 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Broncos 31-3 to win the NFC
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After a horrid period of head coach Josh McDaniels at the helm, the Broncos have been forced to quickly rebuild after finishing last season 4-12. In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Broncos selected linebacker Von Miller out of Texas A&M with the second-overall selection to become the new face of their defense. 

In the first three games of the season, Miller has played fairly well, racking up 12 tackles, two sacks and two pass deflections. Miller has progressed nicely so far and continues to improve against the run like the rest of his teammates. 

As the 31st-ranked rush defense last season, Denver made a point to be more successful this season, and it would need to be better against the run. In the first three games of the season, the Broncos have been much better and currently sit at 14th. 

Rodgers downplayed the notion of adding difficulty facing an unfamiliar opponent as he told reporters

"I think these are the normal weeks. The common opponents are the little bit different weeks because you've seen so much. ... This is a normal week of preparation."

Whether the preparation is the same or different, the Packers will most likely see some unscouted looks from Coach Fox and the Broncos than they did in the first three weeks of the season.

While the Broncos are headed in the right direction defensively, they are still quite far away from the level of championship-contending level that the Packers currently find themselves at. Green Bay has a great opportunity to even the all-time record with the Broncos.

The Packers play the San Diego Chargers in Week 9, the Oakland Raiders in Week 14 and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 to wrap of their tangle with the AFC West. Green Bay doesn't  play the AFC West again until the 2015 season.