NFL Predictions Week 4: Denver Broncos Will Surprise Green Bay Packers

Christopher Smith@MileHighMentorCorrespondent IIIOctober 1, 2011

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos salutes to the fans and celebrates with teammates defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson #99 and linebacker Joe Mays #51 after making a sack on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton during the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos visit Lambeau Field to face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

Vegas and most NFL fans have already picked Green Bay in a landslide victory.

The Broncos will need to pull out all the stops on this road trip to avoid an all-out embarrassment before coming home to face their division rival San Diego Chargers the following week.

Denver looks to return some of their greatest players to the field on Sunday.

Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil are both listed as questionable for the matchup and will travel with the team in hopes of suiting up.

Knowshon Moreno is almost guaranteed to play, but it remains unknown what position he will take up in Denver's offense after a good showing by Willis McGahee in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Injuries and returns will be key for the victor of Sunday's bout.

Denver has to get their big-name players back to the field and onto a quick return.

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Green Bay, on the other hand, is missing a key to their offense in Ryan Grant.

It's unclear if the loss of Grant will really affect Aaron Rodgers' high-powered offense against the Denver Bronco's underachieving defense.

My thoughts are that it will not.

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20:  Linebacker D.J. Williams #55 of the Denver Broncos celebrates on the sidelines after making an interception during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, C
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Although Grant's absence will take one load off of the Broncos' line, they'll still need to put up with Rodgers' 300-yard-per-game pace, and each of his deadly and talented receivers.

Bailey will have to be a force in the secondary if he makes it to the field on Sunday. Rookie Rahim Moore will certainly help Denver's cause, but he can't stop Rodgers by himself.

D.J. Williams is also expected to play on Sunday. This will be his season debut for Denver, and their linebacker corps could not be missing him more.

Rookie Von Miller has done a wonderful job of filling in for Williams in the short term, and Joe Mays has done his part, as well. But Williams is too much of a force for Denver's defense to keep on the sideline for too long.

As far as offense goes for Denver, Orton is most likely facing one of his last chances to silence his critics.

If Orton has a good game against Green Bay, it should keep the Tim Tebow maniacs at bay—at least for a week or so.

Brandon Lloyd has another week of practice to add to his recovery from a hamstring injury, and needs to help Orton have a breakout game.

Lloyd has been very vocal this last week about not being a bigger part of the offense.

Well, Brandon, if you want to continue to be an elite receiver, you'll need to play more and get your hands on the ball a few more times during the course of a game.

Elite receivers are elite not just because their quarterback throws them the ball, but because they run great routes, get themselves open in coverage and come down with the pass.

You did it for a year, Lloyd, now get back on pace or shut it.

Denver and their recovering players need to make a statement this week—just like they needed to in the last three.

They'll come to the field with a new level of energy and a great feeling of improvement just by working through the 2011 injury bug—apparently this thing comes back every year just like the flu.

The Broncos' play on Sunday should surprise the Green Bay Packers.

It may not be enough for the big upset that the Broncos faithful—and myself—are hoping for, but it may work toward their goal of earning a bit more respect from their fans and the league.