Each Tuesday, Press-Gazette Media will turn to the week ahead with three storylines for the Green Bay Packers’ next game. This week, the opponent is the Denver Broncos. Here’s a glimpse of what to watch for when the Packers travel to Denver for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Sunday.
1. Aaron vs. Peyton: Their names say it all. Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, with seven MVP awards between them, are two of the three greatest quarterbacks of this century (along with the Patriots' Tom Brady). They’ve played against each other only once, on Oct. 19, 2008, during Rodgers’ first season as a starting quarterback. The Packers beat Manning’s Colts 34-14. They returned two Manning interceptions for touchdowns, a fitting factoid to bring up this week. Even though the Broncos are 6-0, Manning is playing his worst football since his rookie season in 1998. He has 10 interceptions, three more than his touchdown total, and doesn’t look like the same quarterback who was named to 14 Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro lists. He’ll need to be better — and live up to this mega-QB billing — for the Broncos to win Sunday.
2. The injury report: There aren’t many teams that have been forced to handle injuries — crushing injuries, at times — like the Packers. Their injury report is long. Safety Morgan Burnett, a leader in the secondary, has missed five of six games. Receiver Davante Adams hasn’t played in October. Running back Eddie Lacy’s carries have been limited as he recovers from a sprained ankle. All three should be close to full capacity on Sunday. If defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Nick Perry also are on the field in Denver — both practiced Monday — the Packers could have their healthiest lineup in weeks. Behold, the magic of a bye week.
3. Undefeateds: There’s something special about two undefeated teams playing each other in November. The Broncos have a ferocious defense, one of the best receiver tandems in football and a legendary quarterback making enough plays to keep his team in the win column. The Packers have Rodgers, a sturdy offensive line and one of the NFL’s best pass rushes. Something has to give. This week will be especially revealing for the Packers, who haven’t beaten an opponent with a winning record this season (the Broncos have beaten only one). The Packers, one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NFC, want to continue positioning themselves for a playoff run. They eventually could meet the Broncos again.
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