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Keys to the game for the Packers

This week we're doing a series of Q & A posts with covering lots of ground on our opponents for week 8. In today's post we cover the keys to the game for the Green Bay Packers.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

1) The Packers offense is facing its stiffest challenge this week from the Denver defense. What do they need to do to get enough points to win in a hostile environment at Mile High?

Green Bay's receivers need to do a better job of getting open. Since Davante Adams went down in Week 2, Randall Cobb's shoulder strain worsened and James Jones tweaked his hamstring, the Packers' passing attack has gone hot and cold, bottoming out in the team's last game when no player recorded more than two receptions.

That should change somewhat coming out of the bye.

The most significant change should come from Adams, who practiced fully to start out the week and should return to the field on Sunday. His physicality and ability to bury defenders after the catch could come in handy against Denver's excellent group of cornerbacks. The extra time off should benefit Cobb and Jones as well. A healthy crew of pass catchers should help Aaron Rodgers return to form, even against a formidable Broncos defense.

2) Denver's offense is hungry. Starving even. They are going to come out of the gates swinging. What does the Packers defense have to do in order to shut them down?

So far this season, the lack of a consistent vertical passing attack has made the Broncos a relatively easy team to defend. Denver opponents are utilizing single-high looks and shutting down much of what Peyton Manning likes to do in the short passing game while also limiting the team's ground game. I expect the Packers to take the same approach.

Green Bay's defense has generated more pressure than any other team in the NFC. Defensive end Mike Daniels is enjoying a career-year, and nose tackle B.J. Raji has stabilized a run defense that has struggled for years. Behind them, Clay Matthews is becoming a menace from both the inside and outside linebacker positions. If the group can break down the offensive line as it has against most of its opponents so far, the Broncos offense won't be difficult to neutralize.

Of course, that's easier said than done, and the week off should help Denver figure out ways to improve its shortcomings.

3) What are the keys coaching-wise for Green Bay?

Protecting Rodgers is always priority No. 1, especially against the best pass rush in the league. Already this year, three of the Packers' starting offensive linemen have battled knee injuries, hindering the pass protection accordingly. The five preferred starters should all enter Sunday's game healthy, but Green Bay must figure out how to help them slow down Von Miller and, if he plays, DeMarcus Ware.

Additionally, the Packers need to get Eddie Lacy more involved in the offense. He received just four carries in the team's last game and lost most of his snaps to backup James Starks. The coaches said they wanted to give him extra time to heal from an ankle injury. If that's actually the case, he should see significantly more work against Denver.