The Denver Broncos are underdogs at home for this Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. That isn’t something you see very often. Alas, after a 1-5 start to their season and virtually seven years in a row of complete chaos—it’s understandable why the betting lines are the way they are.
Denver is a bad football team. However their opponent this week isn’t a very good one either. The Packers are 2-3 and coming off their BYE week, but they have been inconsistent offensively and defensively through their first five games. Additionally, they have a decent amount of injuries heading into this weekend’s matchup which could have some impact on the game.
Let’s take a deeper dive into Denver’s Week 7 opponent.
2022 Green Bay Packers Review
The Packers finished their 2022 season with a 8-9 record and finishing in third-place in the NFC North. It was the first time in three seasons the team had failed to make the playoffs under Head Coach Matt LaFleur. On offense, they ranked fourteenth in points scored and seventeenth in yardage accumulated. Defensively, they were seventeenth in both points and yardage allowed.
2023 Offseason Moves and Acquisitions
The big offseason move for the Packers was the player they traded away. Longtime quarterback and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers was dealt to the New York Jets for some draft picks. That officially signaled the end of his storied career with the Packers and the ‘true’ beginning of the Jordan Love era in Green Bay.
The Packers weren’t major players in free agency. In fact, there was a decent exodus from their roster with more well-known players leaving their team than joining them. But that isn’t much of a surprise considering the Packers are definitely going through the motions of a rebuilding process in the post-Rodgers era.
With additional draft capital, the Packers made a lot of selections in the 2023 NFL Draft and came away with some good prospects I was very high on during the draft process. Lukas Van Ness, Luke Musgrave, Jayden Reed, Tucker Kraft, and Colby Wooden (their top five picks) should all develop into quality starting players and be fixtures for their team for a long time.
The Packers Offensive X-Factor — Jordan Love
Replacing a legend like Aaron Rodgers certainly isn’t easy, but quarterback Jordan Love has had plenty of time to develop over the past few years—he just needs the in-game reps to take his game to the next level.
Realistically, it looks like that day won’t ever come. They have surrounded him with young talent on the offensive side of the ball to help his trajectory, but so far he has been underwhelming to begin his 2023 season. His accuracy and decision-making skills are woefully sub-par. I think it’s safe to say he isn’t the long-term answer for them, but someone I’d still dub the ‘X-Factor’ on offense this weekend.
To date, Love is sporting an atrocious 55.6% completion percentage and has thrown for just 1,083 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions through five games. He has also been sacked ten times and fumbled the ball twice. With that in mind, Vance Joseph’s defense has improved over the past few games. Going up against Love who has shown a penchant for turnovers should bode well for the Broncos, but there is always that chance Denver’s defense collapses and makes Love look a lot better than he actually is.
The Packers Defensive X-Factor — Jaire Alexander
Cornerback Jaire Alexander is one of the best in the National Football League. The former first-round pick has earned two All-Pro selections and shown a knack for making game-changing plays over the course of his career.
Last season he was rewarded with a four-year deal worth $84 million dollars—making him one of the highest paid defensive backs in the entire league. A well-deserved deal for a player who an easily erase his side of the field in coverage due to his prowess and abilities.
The Packers’ secondary already has a few injuries and unfortunately Alexander was a surprise edition to yesterday’s injury report. That being said, my guess is he will wind up playing and go toe-to-toe on the outside against Courtland Sutton—which should be a big matchup to watch on Sunday.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen Russell Wilson be hesitant to move the ball down the field, but he is going to have to take those shots to improve the efficacy of the passing offense. If Alexander is able to lockdown Sutton, Wilson is going to have to find a way to get the ball to someone else be it Jerry Jeudy, Marvin Mims, etc.
Do the Broncos have a realistic shot against the Packers?
As bad as the Broncos have been this year, I have them defeating the Packers by a score of 24-20. Green Bay has been inconsistent on both sides of the ball and have turned the ball over a lot. On top of that, their rushing defense is one of the worst in the entire league.
I think the Broncos’ defense can capitalize on turnovers going up against Jordan Love and I think Sean Payton will finally get it right and start utilizing the running game more to his advantage throughout the game.