The Packers take on the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field today. The Packers look to continue their perfect start but face a tougher test than the Broncos’ 0-2 record indicate. Here’s a look at what will likely be the key contributors to a 3-0 start.

High expectations

Aaron Rodgers:

QB1 has managed the first two weeks with modest stats of just over 200 yards passing per game with 3 TDs and no INTs. Rodgers and his wrist coach were able to speed up the play-calling while simultaneously reducing my blood pressure. 12s history of waiting for the perfect precision throw leaves him vulnerable to aggressive pass rushes and through 2 weeks he’s been sacked 7 times which is 7th highest in the NFL. Of the 7, 5 of them coming against the Bears which is the most comparable defense in the NFL to Vic Fangio’s Broncos. If 12 can find receivers early, like the quick slant packers of old, he should be able to slow down Von and Chubb from ruining his afternoon. Unlike the Bears, the Broncos don’t have the talent in the secondary to bolster that pass rush which has left Von and Chubb with zero sacks through 2 weeks.

Davante Adams:

Rodgers will look to his safety net Adams early and often to keep the Packers offense flowing. Adams has deservedly been receiving double and even triple teams to limit his impact. When  DA is able to showcase his route running, he is able to make big chunks. Rodgers can always depend on 17’s ability to find the soft spot in zones or destroy man coverage with mastered footwork that makes Ochocinco’s mouth water.

Packers TE group

Injury designation may limit Jimmy Graham’s involvement leaving a coming-out party for Robert Tonyan aka Bobby Touchdowns. Aggressive pash rush will leave openings over the middle for the group to take advantage of. If Jimmy plays, it’s expected to only be in passing situations as it normally is with him running a route on 87% of his plays. He leads the Packers TEs in targets with 6 compared to Marcedes Lewis’s 4 and Tonyan’s 1. Denver is struggling to cover the tight end through 2 weeks allowing a catch rate of 84.2% and 143 yards receiving compared to 72% and 195 yards to wideouts.

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Low Expectations

Running Backs

I expect the running backs to be heavily involved based on the prevalence of 21 personnel. Based on the Packers interest in the toss and off-tackle runs, the offense is going to be in the hands of Aaron Rodgers to avoid those elite edge defenders. Broncos defense is currently giving up a 44.4% catch rate to RBs, granted that’s against check-down captains Mitch Trubisky and Derek Carr. Broncos defense is also only allowing 3.47 YPC for a total of 177 yards rushing. My expectation is one if not both the RBs score but production on the ground will be limited outside the red zone. If I were to predict a stat line for Aaron Jones would be in the ballpark 12-65 and a score.

Outlook

Packers will struggle if they aren’t able to stretch the field with wide runs and deep shots to MVS and Geronimo. Think the game is closer than the -8.5 points the Packers are getting from Vegas although my view is the defense hasn’t been this sturdy and reliable in years.

Prediction:

Packers 27-21

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