They’ll be trying to win the franchise’s first game ever inside Lambeau Field.
The Broncos (0-2) started the season with a loss to their rivals on Monday Night Football, then fell at home to the Chicago Bears on a last-second field goal — literally, there was one second left on the clock — that evaporated Denver’s terrific final drive. That leaves the Broncos heading into a Week 3 road game as the only winless AFC West team.
The Packers (2-0) lost their last matchup with the Broncos in 2015 in Denver, but much has changed in the Mile Hile City since that season when Peyton Manning returned from an injury to lead the franchise to its third Super Bowl title.
While Joe Flacco keeps a championship-caliber quarterback under center, Aaron Rodgers and a resurgent Green Bay defense makes for one of the toughest matchups on the Broncos’ schedule, rivaling divisional road games later in the season at the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers opened eight-point favorites against the Broncos with an over-under at 43.5, according to Odds Sharks, as bettors are strongly favoring Green Bay with Denver keeping things close to cover the spread.
Here’s some more background on the teams along with stats and advice on which of these two teams is worth backing in Week 3.
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Packers vs. Broncos: Can Joe Flacco Beat a Top Defense?
In a change of pace for the franchise, the defense has been at the forefront of the Packers’ success thus far in 2019. The unit trails only the New England Patriots in fewest points allowed per game (9.5) after quality wins over both Chicago and Minnesota.
Poking a hole in a secondary buoyed by Adrian Amos, Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage Jr. is the biggest challenge for Flacco and his assortment of receivers, which could be without starter Courtland Sutton after he missed Thursday’s practice with a rib injury.
The Packers are also tied for a league-leading five takeaways through the first two games —three of which were interceptions — placing a heavier burden on the Broncos offense to continue to take care of the football. Denver has just one giveaway this season.
For the Packers, the key to success lies in getting the run game — and lead rusher Aaron Jones — going early against a defense that has allowed 125.5 rushing yards per game coming into Week 3. Jones stomped skepticism when he followed up a quiet first week with a 116-yard performance against the Vikings, rushing for a touchdown as well as making four catches for 34 yards.
If the Broncos allow him to run wild, it could end up being a lopsided afternoon.
Packers vs. Broncos: Pick & Prediction
The Packers offense was fortunate to coast on the success of its three opening drives last week, but any margin of improvement could see Jones run ragged the Broncos defenders while Rodgers and his wide array of receivers pick them apart.
That’s not to say the Broncos are hopeless by any means, as they have just as much potential to gain from the mistakes of a newly-converted Packers team that has looked shoddy in both of its one-score victories. Flacco is seasoned, but he’s also a competitor with Emmanuel Sanders, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman at his disposal.
Both teams have things still to sort out defensively, but two scenarios seem most likely: Either the Packers exploit the Broncos shortcomings and run up the score or the Broncos take the next step and keep it a back-and-forth afternoon. Covering the spread shouldn’t be hard no matter which unfolds, but don’t put your money anywhere else other than with the unbeaten Packers inside the walls of Lambeau.
Pick: Packers -7.5
Over-under: Over 43.5
Prediction: Packers 35, Broncos 17