Denver Broncos vs Green Bay Packers: 4 Broncos Sure to Have a Huge Impact
Experts and oddsmakers agree that Denver is a long shot to even remain competitive in the game against the top ranked Packers.
According to the early statistics, it is actually Denver who comes in with the stingier defense to combat the high-powered Packers offense. The Broncos are giving up an average of 20.7 Pts. per game according to NFL.com, which is four points better than the Packers defense at the moment.
Take that stat for what it is worth and also consider this one, Green Bay has a total of seven takeaways (5 Ints, 3 FRec) compared to Denver's three (0 Ints, 3 FRec).
Statistics can say a lot of things, but it is the players who decide the outcome on the field. Here are four Denver Broncos who are sure to have an impact on Sunday's outcome.
OLB, DJ Williams
There may be some question about the health of DJ Williams entering the game against the Packers, but the good news is that the injury was to his elbow and the Broncos are interested in his legs working this weekend.
The reason for that is the match-up nightmare that Green Bay can create with TE Jermichael Finley in the passing game. His triple touchdown performance last week against the Bears served notice that he is back from injury and ready to contribute to another Packer championship.
The Broncos will rely on every bit of DJ's natural athleticism and veteran savvy to help protect against Finley making big plays down the field.The responsibility also lies with Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to ensure that it is Williams out in coverage and not rookie Von Miller.
The potential absence of RB Ryan Grant and T Bryan Bulaga helps minimize the threat of a Packer rushing attack, which means that Williams will be able to concern himself only with stopping Finley.
Aaron Rodgers has a lot of faith in Finley winning every matchup against a linebacker that he gets. In order for Denver to have a chance, Williams needs to put himself in places where Rodgers doesn't expect a linebacker to be.
TE, Daniel Fells
Clearly, the Green Bay Packers have integrated the TE into their passing game flawlessly. The Denver Broncos are still working on that formula.
The loss of Julius Thomas at TE makes it difficult for Denver to create the same kind of match-up problems that Green Bay can. Still, the aggressive nature of the Packers defense creates an opportunity for Fells to make an impact.
The constant pressure mentality of the Packers leaves a lot of man coverage in the defensive backfield. However, the Packers are likely going to take their chances and let a player like Fells prove that he needs to be accounted for prior to them actually adjusting.
Orton, and the Broncos offense, needs to use that advantage and allow the surprisingly agile Fells to try and sneak underneath coverage for some receptions. Checking down needs to be a huge part of the Broncos plan to try and stay in the game, and Fells should have a part to play in that.
CB, Champ Bailey
Champ Bailey has been victimizing NFL quarterbacks for years. Aaron Rodgers has not yet found himself on Champ's highlight reel.
The Broncos are going to put Bailey on an island with Packers WR Greg Jennings all day in an effort to help the rest of the defense limit their scope of focus.
Rodgers is smart, Jennings is athletic and the two of them together will take their chances and likely convert on some. Still, the more balls that are thrown towards Champ will increase his ability to make a game changing play on defense.
If the stats that were presented earlier mean anything, it is that takeaways lead to wins, and Champ is a likely candidate to create one.
RB, Knowshon Moreno
Knowshon Moreno can have a huge impact on this game without having a single carry. As long as BJ Raji is patrolling the middle, the Broncos should only expect to keep the Packers honest by even attempting to run inside with Willis McGahee.
Moreno's stat line needs to include at least eight receptions for 80 yards and possibly a touchdown. If that sounds far fetched and impossible, just look at these stats from the Packers' first three games:
Darren Sproles: 7 receptions, 75 yards, 10.7 Y/R
Jonathan Stewart: 8 receptions, 100 yards, 12.5 Y/R
Matt Forte: 7 receptions, 80 yards, 11.4 Y/R
The Packers have a "bend but don't break" mentality when it comes to passes out of the backfield. The only thing that these three players did not do was find the end zone on one of these plays.
If ever there was a time to try using Moreno as a third down, out-of-the-backfield passing option, it is against Green Bay.
Moreno will be eager to contribute, and the Broncos should be equally interested in finding a role for Moreno to impact this offense in.
The trick for the Broncos will come in trying to find the end zone as the field gets shorter. Finding a creative way to use athletes like Knowshon Moreno and even Tim Tebow are going to have a huge impact on the Broncos ability to score on this Packers defense.