If Packers fans think they’ve been anxious about their start to the season, Broncos fans have arguably had it worse.
Not only did they give a very questionable extension to quarterback Russell Wilson when they traded for him, but they also brought in Sean Payton to take over for the overwhelmed Nathaniel Hackett.
The thought process was that Payton would return Wilson to his All-Pro form.
It hasn’t happened and the Broncos are one of the worst teams in football and have a historically bad defense (that they hired a coach they once fired to lead!)
APC spoke with Ian St. Clair from our sister site Mile High Report ahead of Sunday’s game in this week’s edition of Five Questions with the Enemy.
Question #1: Is Russell Wilson actually cooked?
He is in Denver. While his stats have been better, they’re misleading. As is the case with the offense, he flashes and then vanishes. And the vanishing is way more consistent than the flashes of great play. It’s also clear that Wilson can’t put a team on his back and lead them to victory as elite, great QBs need to do. Wilson isn’t going anywhere before the end of the season, but it’ll be interesting to see what the Broncos decide once the season ends. He has a massive contract, but will Greg Penner and Sean Payton just decide to move on? Will see. A lot of that will depend on where Denver falls in the NFL Draft.
Question #2: Does the game appear to have passed Sean Payton by after a year off?
He’s had his moments of head-scratching decisions, but he’s still better than Mike McCarthy or Brandon Staley (for anyone who watched that Monday Night Football game). The biggest issue with Payton is how the Broncos consistently look like a great team in the first half and then turn into a clown car in the second half. That’s probably a combination of Payton, his staff and a lack of talent on Denver’s roster. Given the lack of talent, I’m willing to give Payon another year (or two). This is more of a teardown than I think Payton envisioned.
Question #3: Vance Joseph has been rumored to be on the hot seat already. Is there anything the defense does that could cause Green Bay problems?
In a word: No. Given how well the defense played against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, I would not be surprised to see this defense revert back to the dumpster fire that it is. The Packers should be able to run the ball at will against the Denver defense. Then when Jordan Love does throw the ball, he should have time to do so and throw it to whomever Damarri Mathis is covering. The Broncos may get pressure on Love now and then, but it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. Denver’s defense is the worst in the league in just about every statistical category, and we’ll see that in play on Sunday.
Question #4: What is your best bet for Sunday’s game at DraftKings Sportsbook? The Broncos are home underdogs…is that unusual for them?
Over whatever Aaron Jones’s rushing total prop ends up being. And not the alternate rushing prop, either. The Broncos rushing defense is terrible and Jones should have no issue hitting this. I’ll throw out one more based on the value. Denver to score a touchdown on its first drive at +370. The Broncos have scored an opening drive TD in four of six games this season. The first drive is also the only part of the game that Wilson and the Denver offense look functional.
As for the Broncos being home underdogs, that speaks to how far this franchise has fallen. Denver used to have the best home-field advantage in the league. Now they’re home ’dogs and are looking for their first win at home. I would say it was unusual before the last seven seasons.
Question #5: What do you expect in Sunday’s game? Prediction?
I expect the Broncos defense to revert back to what it is on Sunday and that’s the worst defense in the NFL. The Denver offense will likely score a TD on the opening drive and then disappear. The Packers should be able to run the ball and consistently stop the Broncos offense. I also think Green Bay fans will show up on Sunday. It would not surprise me if Broncos fans sell their tickets. Packers fans find a way to take over stadiums. I’m not saying that will happen, but there could be a lot of Green Bay fans at Mile High on Sunday.