The Sunday afternoon portion of the NFL Week 3 regular season schedule features 13 contests, eight in the early window and five on tap for later in the day. For the former part of the docket, our attention is drawn to an interesting interconference battle in Green Bay.
The Denver Broncos are still in search of their first win of the new season. They’ll be on the road this weekend for an early kickoff versus the Packers. The hosts record is unblemished, and they enter this contest as pretty big favorites.
The Broncos nearly had their first victory last week before a strange ending to the home game with the visiting Chicago Bears. For the Packers, the defense deserves most of the credit for the team’s strong start.
This was an area of focus for the franchise in the offseason, and early returns suggest it has paid off quite well. Let’s take a look at this matchup in full detail, starting with the current game lines.
Denver Broncos vs. Green Bay Packers, 1:00 PM EST, Sun. Sept.22, FOX
Betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Denver vs. Green Bay Pick:
The Broncos welcomed the Bears to town last Sunday and entered the game as 3-point underdogs. It was a tight and defensive-minded affair which came down to the final minutes. Denver took a 14-13 lead with just 31 seconds to go after a successful 2-point conversion. Chicago would proceed to drive down the field and set up Eddie Pineiro for a game-winning 53-yard field goal.
The Packers were home last week to play host to the Minnesota Vikings. They were 3-point favorites at kickoff and took control of the game from the outset. Green Bay stormed out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter behind two TD passes from Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota mounted a comeback, but it was too little, too late. The Packers walked off the field with a 21-16 victory.
|Green Bay||2-0||31||19||W2||1-NFC North|
Denver opened up the year on the road for a Monday night affair with the Oakland Raiders. The hosts were 2.5-point underdogs at kickoff, mainly due to a summer filled with drama. The Raiders were able to put all of that aside and came to play. They held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and never lost control of the game, walking away with a 24-16 win.
Green Bay was matched up with the Bears for the season opener on Thursday Night Football. They entered the game as 3-point road underdogs. After Chicago kicked the scoring off with a field goal, the Packers answered with an Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Graham hookup. That would be the lone touchdown of the game as Green Bay won a 10-3 defensive struggle.
The Broncos offense has yet to achieve liftoff with Joe Flacco behind center. Through two games, Flacco has thrown for 560 yards, two scores, and a pick. He has completed 69.1 percent of his passes and has been sacked five times. The Denver ground game hasn’t done much either. All told, the Broncos backfield has combined for 185 rushing yards and no scores.
Fangio spent last season as defensive coordinator of the Bears. The unit is expected to be a strength of the team, but the results have been mixed thus far. After a poor performance in Week 1, the unit looked better in the defeat to the Bears. The Denver defense has yet to generate a sack this season, and they have only picked off a single pass to boot.
The offense of the Packers was stymied by the Bears in the opener, but it showed signs of life in last week’s win over the Vikings. However, the unit got awfully quiet once Minnesota made some adjustments after falling behind. Rodgers has performed well, but the stats are lower than his normal output. He has thrown for 412 yards and three scores so far and has also been sacked seven times.
New head coach Matt LaFleur seems to driving towards a more balanced approach on offense. The Packers backfield has responded with a combined line of 55/191/1. The defense has been fantastic through two games, generating six sacks and forcing five turnovers while allowing a grand total of 19 points. Blake Martinez leads the team with 20 tackles.
The Broncos hold a 7-6-1 advantage for the all-time series with the Packers. The teams last faced off in 2015, a 29-10 home victory for Denver. Green Bay had won the previous three games in a row when these two squads squared off.
Through two games, Denver is 1-1 against the spread and 0-2 on totals. The Packers are 2-0 ATS and 0-2 on the Over/Under. For the 2018 season, the Broncos were 6-10 overall, 6-9-1 ATS, and 3-12-1 on totals. Green Bay was 6-9-1 both straight-up and ATS, and 8-8 on the Over/Under.
As rod underdogs last season, the Broncos were 1-3 overall and 2-2 ATS. The Packers were 5-2 as home favorites and 3-4 ATS.
The NFL betting sites have installed the Packers as big home favorites for this tilt. It’s clear that they’re the better team on paper. Offseason investments to bolster the defense appears to be money well spent. There are still some kinks to work out in the new offensive system, but that side of the ball should improve as time moves along.
For the Broncos, they face the prospect of falling into an 0-3 hole. They performed better in Week 2 than they did in the season opener, but the bottom line is they couldn’t get the job done. The offense needs work, but the defense should continue to evolve and get better under Fangio’s leadership.
This doesn’t have the makings of a rout. Even after the Packers got up 21-0 on the Vikings, they had to hold on for a 5-point win. Packers win, but the Broncos keep it closer than expected.