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Preview: Green Bay at Denver

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I just finished watching Boston sweep Colorado so apparently there will be no need to change that kickoff time tomorrow. I expected Boston to beat Colorado and Cleveland, but I also expected Colorado to get beaten by San Diego and Arizona, and New York to beat Cleveland. Apparently I get my predictions correct about 40% of the time. As far as my Packer predictions go, I said this before the last game against Washington:

If the Packers can shut down TE Chris Cooley, hold onto the ball, and get all their wide receivers involved in the game, they should win what should be a tough, low scoring game.
While TK the Packers Fan said this:
and I really hope that McCarthy makes halftime adjustments this week, something he didn't do last week.
The Packers did none of the three things I said they should do to win the game, although they did manage to recover the ball when they did fumble, and it didn't look like Mike McCarthy made any successful halftime adjustments, at least on offense.

I wanted to point out a post from my fellow SB Nation site, Mile High Report, in which they preview the Monday night game. Unfortunately, I don't agree with any of it, so there is really no need for a point-by-point critique. Still it is a good summary of Denver so far this season, at least it was for me since I haven't watched them play at all in 2007.

On defense the first key will be getting pressure on QB Jay Cutler, who has been very good at avoiding sacks this season. If DE Cullen Jenkins can't play, then another lineman like DTs Corey Williams or Johnny Jolly will have to step up and provide some additional pass rush. The Packers were willing to blitz LBs Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk against Washington in the 2nd half to provide some additional pass rush, but that is not defensive coordinator Bob Sanders' first choice. Denver doesn't have dangerous receivers at either running back or tight end, so that is one less concern for this game. Shutting down 6'4" WR Brandon Marshall is the second key for the defense, which has struggled against tall wide receivers such as San Diego's WR Vincent Jackson and Minnesota's WR Sidney Rice, but did shut down Giants' WR Plaxico Burress, who is having a great 2007 season otherwise.

On offense the key is Mike McCarthy. Back to what TK the Packers Fan said above, McCarthy has to make the proper adjustments. Against Chicago, they expected him to run out the game in the second half and they played their linebackers close to the line, which completely shut the offense down in the 3rd quarter. Versus Washington, they played their linebackers and safeties deep to shut down the wide receivers' slant and deep routes. Washington's defensive line did a good job closing the running lanes, but the Packers made little effort to try and open the lanes up when Washington was so committed to stopping the Packers deep. Plus McCarthy needs to forget, and help WR James Jones forget, Jones' two fumble performance against Chicago and get him back into the passing game with short passes and into the middle of the field. Jones and all the Packer receivers have been great at getting yards after the catch, so there is no need to throw to deep. Play the West Coast Offense as it was intended, start short and work deep, give your receivers a chance to run for yards after the catch, and let good things happen. But don't forget the run offense against a weak Denver run defense. RB DeShawn Wynn spent too much time running behind the line of scrimmage against Washington and needs to run hard through the line once the running lanes are opened up. Denver will have to respect the deep ball because of Favre's love of throwing deep, so no need to worry about opening up the field.

On special teams the key is to get K Mason Crosby some good shoes. How many times did he slip against Washington? Please let me know so because I lost count.

I don't expect a blow out win, but this should be a game the Packers win as long as they make some adjustments and avoid turnovers.