Preview: Packers at Broncos
The Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos share many similarities, namely future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, unblemished records and questions surrounding their respective running games. The Broncos, however, boast the league’s most dominant defense and that could prove to be the difference when the teams test their mettle in Denver on Sunday.
The Broncos have scored a defensive touchdown in four of the last six contests, including a 26-23 overtime victory at Cleveland on Oct. 18. Denver’s opportunistic defense will be challenged by two-time and reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers, who tossed a pair of touchdowns – including the sixth to familiar target James Jones – in a 27-20 victory over San Diego on Oct. 18.
Denver’s Peyton Manning has struggled mightily this season, throwing two touchdowns against seven interceptions in the last three games. Should the league’s only five-time MVP right the ship, Manning would tie former Packers star Brett Favre for most victories (186) by a quarterback in the regular season.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE: Packers -3.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (6-0-0): After battling a nagging ankle injury, Eddie Lacy dealt with a different issue this week as reporters questioned whether the 234-pound – give or take a few – running back is being hampered by his weight. Lacy was limited to four carries for three yards versus the Chargers, with backup James Starks receiving the bulk of the work in that contest. Starks has been hampered by an ailing hip this week and coach Mike McCarthy hinted that Lacy could shoulder the load versus Denver by revealing that he is “starting to get back to himself.”
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (6-0-0): Ronnie Hillman (team-leading 323 yards rushing) said he believes Denver’s ground attack is about to get on track. “The offensive line is starting to get in a groove and it’s making it easier for us to run,” said Hillman, who rushed for 111 yards against the Browns before the team’s bye. C.J. Anderson (2.7 yards per carry) admitted he was more injured than he let on earlier in the season, but told the Denver Post that he feels ready to go after the bye week.
1. Sunday’s contest pits teams 6-0 or better for the fourth time in NFL history, and first since New England (8-0) faced Indianapolis (7-0) in 2007.
2. Green Bay LB Clay Matthews has 4.5 sacks this season and 10 in his last 15 games.
3. Denver owner Pat Bowlen will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame on Sunday, but he will not be in attendance as he battles Alzheimer’s disease.
PREDICTION: Packers 24, Broncos 16