GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Before the Green Bay Packers, off a bye week, head west to take on the Denver Broncos, Local 5 Sports Director Burke Griffin has five key ingredients to a winning recipe on Sunday.
Running Wild Against the Worst Rushing Defense
It is no secret that the Denver Broncos are weak when it comes to its rushing defense, especially after the Bradley Chubb trade nearly one year ago. Since that trade, it’s felt the Broncos defense hasn’t been the same.
Although they do have some names that could develop into great players, the team is allowing an unfathomable 172.3 opponent rushing yards per game. Last season, the Broncos only gave up 109.8 rushing yards per game, so I think the Bradley Chubb trade made a huge deal.
Green Bay heads into Denver with star running back Aaron Jones questionable, which could raise some concerns for the Packers. However, regardless if it’s Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Jordan Love, or even James Robinson, the Packers need to capitalize on the ground game.
Green Bay’s Health off of the Bye
The NFL Bye week is a time for teams to get healthy, recuperate, and gear up for another long stretch of the year, so you would think that the team would be facing minimal injuries on Friday’s injury report, right?
Dead wrong, as the Packers have a whopping ten players on the injury report. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is doubtful to play on Sunday, something we came to expect, but Elgton Jenkins, Darnell Savage, Eric Stokes, Quay Walker, Devonte Wyatt, Jaire Alexander, and Yosh Nijman are all questionable, in addition to Jones and Zayne Anderson.
While Head Coach Matt LeFleur has a next-man-up mentality that can only go so far in terms of talent. If the Packers continue to lose key position players to injuries, games that they should win suddenly turn into a pretty even contest on paper.
Containing a Wisconsin Sports Fan Favorite
After three years at North Carolina State, quarterback Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin and took over the hearts of diehard Badger fans by throwing for over 3,000 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. The 2011 Badgers went on to win the Big Ten Championship but fell to the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl.
While Russell Wilson will always be in the hearts of Wisconsin sports fans, on Saturday at 3:25 p.m., Packers fans are going to have to root against him and hope the defense can contain him within the pocket. There is a stigma going around that Russell Wilson is washed up, but statistically speaking, he is pacing right with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
Wilson is slightly worse in a few categories, like completion percentage (68.3% to 65.9%) and passing yards (1,593 to 1,305), but he does have more touchdowns and fewer interceptions on the year. One key outlier is the amount of sacks taken. Wilson has taken 19 sacks in 2023 compared to Mahomes’ six. The Packers better swarm to Russell Wilson and contain him because if they can’t get pressure, the Green & Gold could be in for a long day.
Love Turnovers? We Don’t Either
Packers fans are still feeling things out on Jordan Love, as the new quarterback in Green Bay has shown some great moments that have fans excited for the future, but also some moments that make you scratch your head.
Love started off his first year as the full-time starter scorching, throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns against Chicago, 151 yards and three touchdowns against Atlanta, and leading a wild comeback against the Saints.
However, the past two games have been a dent in the armor, as Love has five interceptions and has taken seven sacks. Turnovers are critical to the success of younger teams such as the Packers, so if Jordan Love can stick to the easy throws, take what Denver’s defense gives him, and make smart decisions, the Packers will be in good shape to improve to a 3-3 record.
Breaking Old Habits
Green Bay and Denver have only played each other 15 times in league history, including Super Bowl XXXII, but the Packers historically struggle when playing on the road against the Broncos for whatever reason.
The last time the Packers played at Mile High was on November 1, 2015, which resulted in a 29-10 loss for the Green & Gold. Former quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t even throw for 100 yards in the loss to Peyton Manning, who threw for just under 350 yards.
According to Local 5’s Prior to the Snap, the Packers are 1-7 all-time on the road against Denver, including Super Bowl XXXII. You can go ahead and say that the past is the past, but numbers and records never lie. Will the Packers break the trend at Mile High? We can only hope.