Preview: Broncos at Green Bay Packers

The final word on the injury report for the Green Bay Packers will come out later on Friday, but even if RB Ryan Grant and RT Bryan Bulaga are out, they have solid alternatives in their absence. I wouldn't be as high on RT Marshall Newhouse if I hadn't watched him have a good game against the Bears. Maybe he'll have problems with rookie LB Von Miller, but they'll have all week to prepare for it.

Everyone is probably aware that the Packers pass defense has been the weak link in their first three games (though it's improving with 5 INTs over their last two). They've been giving up a lot of yards, but a lot of quarterbacks are throwing for a lot of yards this season. And part of the reason teams are throwing so often against the Packers is that they aren't going anywhere on the ground (only 55 yards per game allowed rushing through the first three games).

Enter QB Kyle Orton. He was putting up some big numbers last season on long passes to WR Brandon Lloyd, but the duo has cooled off this season. Mile High Report notes that Orton isn't connecting on as many long passes this season, and they aren't attempting as many either. It'll be hard for them to take advantage of the Packers weakness in pass defense if the Broncos aren't going to challenge it. Their passing game appears to be built around the "dink and dunk" which isn't spreading it out for their running game (only 3.2 yards per carry so far this season).   

The Packers have run the ball pretty well this season, but Mile High Report is liking the Broncos run defense so far this season. However the Packers offense is always built first around their passing game, and the Broncos pass defense has allowed a 106.8 passer rating in their first three games. The Broncos are hoping the return of CB Champ Bailey and DE Elvis Dumervil helps, but Dumervil has only played in one game so far and hasn't recorded a defensive stat of any kind since 2009. The weather forecast is favorable which should help QB Aaron Rodgers have a big game.

One thing to keep in mind: the Broncos have been keeping games close this season. If they can run a lot of plays by converting often on 3rd down, then they can keep the Packers offense on the sidelines and the score low (and close). The more likely outcome is that Rodgers has another big game against a struggling pass defense.

Packers 34, Broncos 17.

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