Each week, Press-Gazette Media will look at national stories involving the Green Bay Packers as well as stories about their opponents this season:
Packers: Although Green Bay remained No. 2 behind New England in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen,” the esteemed NFL scribe writes in his MMQB column that he was tempted to promote Cincinnati into that slot. “Why not?” King writes. “They’re outscoring and out-throwing Green Bay, and both are playing good defense. … Never thought I’d think Cincinnati is better than an Aaron Rodgers’ Packer team, but we shall see.”
Packers: Green Bay no longer has the best odds of winning its division, according to the folks at FiveThirtyEight.com: That distinction now belongs to the Packers’ next opponent, the Denver Broncos. Denver is given a 94 percent chance of winning the AFC West, compared to the Packers’ 90 percent chance of winning the NFC North. Green Bay’s odds stayed the same as they were last week, while Denver’s improved after losses Sunday by San Diego and Kansas City.
Broncos: Linebacker Von Miller believes the Nov. 1 prime-time game between Denver and Green Bay — both 6-0 — presents the perfect opportunity for the Broncos’ defense, which leads the NFL with 26 sacks, to gain more respect, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. “It’s a big-time game going against a big-time offense. Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night football,” Miller said. “It’s going to be a time where we can go show everybody what the Broncos defense is all about.”
Broncos: Peyton Manning no longer is Oz the Great and Powerful, and Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post writes that his teammates need to stop being cowardly lions and start treating Manning like he’s just one of the guys. “As an offensive teammate, you don’t jump in the foxhole with Manning. You take orders,” Kiszla writes. "Manning is the grandmaster chess player. His offensive teammates are pawns. Peyton and the Pawns. Well, it’s time to play a new game."
Panthers: Carolina is starting to reap national praise and respect after improving to 5-0 with an upset victory Sunday at Seattle, but Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes that the Panthers aren’t going to abandon their “us against the world” mentality. “It’s not going to go away. I’m not going to let it. That’s the truth,” coach Ron Rivera said. “We have to have something to play for, something to shoot for. I think part of it is our guys’ mentality. We do have a lot to prove and we’ve got to continue to go there.”
Lions: Matthew Stafford rushed for a single-game career-high 37 yards in Detroit’s overtime victory over Chicago, but Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press writes that the Lions (1-5) don’t want their quarterback to make a habit of running. “I think we still want to do it judiciously because any time you start hearing a quarterback that runs around a whole lot, it’s pretty clear what happens in this league,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said.
Vikings: Although rookie receiver Stefon Diggs has been impressive in the last two games for Minnesota (3-2), Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes that one need only look at Cordarrelle Patterson — whom Diggs has bypassed on the depth chart — for a reminder of how quickly a player with seemingly huge potential can fizzle.
Bears: Kyle Long remains a work in progress for Chicago (3-4) in his first season at right tackle, and Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the former guard admits he still has a lot to learn about his new position. “I feel like it’s getting better,” Long said. “My pass protection is getting better. I just can’t continue to make the same mistakes in the run game.”
Cowboys: Dallas coach Jason Garrett is seeing positive signs in Tony Romo’s recovery from a broken collarbone, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. Romo, who is eligible to return to practice on Nov. 4 and to the active roster on Nov. 18, was not wearing a sling Wednesday while working out on an elliptical machine. “I think he’s made progress, he’s moving around better,” Garrett said. The Packers host the Cowboys (2-3) on Dec. 13.
Cardinals: Red-zone problems have derailed Arizona’s offense during its two losses, writes Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals (4-2) scored only two touchdowns in nine red-zone opportunities in losing to the Rams and Steelers while scoring TDs on 16 of 17 red-zone trips in their four victories.
email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Stucourt