Green Bay (-1.0) @ Denver
Green Bay: 16, Denver 28
Keys to the game, when Green Bay has the ball:
The Packers are coming off a bye from last week, with their offense ranking 12th in EPA/play and 16th in DVOA. Jordan Love has been a middle-of-the-road quarterback, completing 55.6% of his passes, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt, and earning a 64.6 PFF grade. It isn't a surprise to see Love, who is in his first year as a full time starter, not quite hitting the ground running. The group of receivers he's throwing the ball to are barely old enough to drink. The top receivers by targets this season: Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, Dontayvion Wicks, and Christian Watson -- none of whom were drafted prior to 2022. The Packers were hoping that the combination of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon at running back would take some of the pressure off of Love and the receivers, but Jones has been dealing with a hamstring injury. It does appear that Jones - who has been limited in practice all week - is set to return this week. The offensive line has dealt with injuries, with both LT David Bakhtiari (knee) and LG Elgton Jenkins (knee) missing time. Bakhtiari is on IR, but Jenkins should return. The offensive line has been far better pass blocking than run blocking, ranking 4th in ESPN's pass block win rate metric but 29th in run block win rate.
The good new for Packers is they're up against the worst defense in football. The Broncos defense currently ranks:
-Dead last in EPA/play
-Dead last in defensive DVOA
-Dead last in yards/play
-Dead last in whatever other metric you want to use
And it's not just that they're last, they're last by a sizeable margin. Their defensive DVOA is 30.4% (positive is bad), the 2nd worst team is the Cardinals at 21.1%. With EPA/play, they're at 0.183. 31st is the Bears at .105. It got so bad that the Broncos frustratingly decided to move on from two veteran pass rushers, Randy Gregory and Frank Clark. There's far too much talent on the Broncos defense to continue on this historically bad run - no team featuring DT Zach Allen, CB Patrick Surtain, LB Jose Jewell (when healthy), S Justin Simmons, and S Kareem Jackson should be this bad, but it's clear that something is very, very broken in Denver.
When the Broncos have the ball:
The Broncos offense is 17th in both DVOA and EPA/play. Russ Wilson has improved from a season ago, completing 65.9% of his passes, gaining 7.1 yards per attempt, and earning a 72.0 PFF grade. The problem with the Broncos is their top two receivers are struggling - each earning PFF grades below 70. Meanwhile, rookie Marvin Mims has had some success, but the Broncos refuse to give him any kind of playing time - Mims ran just 8 routes on 31 dropbacks last game where he wasn't targeted once. The running game has had some success, however, collectively gaining 5.8 yards per attempt. This is partially thanks to the offensive line, which ranks 10th in pass block win rate and 3rd in run block win rate.
The Packers defense is 20th in EPA/play and 21st in DVOA. The pass rush is middle of the road - they've had difficulty in getting pressure from the outside apart from Rashan Gary, but Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt both have had success from the tackle position. Gary lines up on both the left and right side, but the Broncos have two solid tackles. If Jeudy and Sutton continue to struggle, Packers corners Rasual Douglas - currently PFF's 3rd highest rated corner -- and Jaire Alexander should be up to the task. This side of the matchup is quite even.