Denver Broncos (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS), 4:15pm ET, NFL Week 4, October 2, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI, TV: CBS
By Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: -12.5 GB/+12.5 Den
Over/Under Total: 47
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It is a cross conference clash this Sunday as the Denver Broncos travel to historic Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers is asserting himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the game and the Pack has looked strong in the early weeks while Denver is experiencing one the hottest quarterback debates in football and need wins to avoid becoming irrelevant very quickly. The game kicks during the afternoon slate and can be seen on CBS.
Early lines posted at the offshore betting sites had Green Bay as 14.5 point favorites but most had trimmed that back to 12.5 or 13 by midweek. The Packers are on the money line at -600 with the Broncos in the +475 range with the over/under total between 47 and 48.
Denver has played three close games so far, losing by three to both Oakland and Tennessee while sneaking past Cincinnati by a 24-22 margin in week 2. The offense has struggled in the early going with very little success in the running game and has been bit by the injury bug at the wide receiver position. The Broncos are averaging just 76 yards a game on the ground and the passing isnt clicking either with the team outside the top-25 in yards gained. The defense has been pretty sound with middle of the pack ranks in yards allowed and they have given up a respectable 20.7 points per game. The D does have injury issues as well with Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey both questionable for Sundays game.
It has been a spotless start to the season for the defending champs as the Pack was able to beat New Orleans in the NFL opener and then tip Carolina and Chicago on the road. Green Bay sports one of the premier offenses in the NFL with top-10 ranks in both passing and rushing yards per game and their 33 points per game average is 5th entering the week. The Packer receivers pose matchup problems across the field, especially when Green Bay moves to a no-huddle offense and speeds the tempo. The defense has been a bit of a disappointment with both Drew Brees and Cam Newton throwing for more than 400 yards but the unit relies on impact players like Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson to create turnovers and give the ball back to the offense. Safety Nick Collins is out for the year after suffering a neck injury in week two.
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Kyle Orton may have the least fan support of any quarterback in the NFL but an upset of Green Bay in Lambeau should silence some of the “Tebow-Tebow” chants for at least a week or so. Maybe not. Orton has completed 57% of his passes for 672 yards and thrown for five scores against three interceptions. He needs some support from a running game that features some big names, just not big production. Willis McGahee leads the team with 156 rushing yards but is averaging less than three yards per carry and the Broncos have just one rushing score as a team. Eric Decker has emerged as a go to target with 15 grabs for 214 yards and two touchdowns and plays a key role on special teams with one punt return for a score.
Rodgers is putting up MVP stats with 917 yards and eight touchdowns already with just one interception and is hitting on 71% of his passes. He found Jermichael Finley for three scores last week with Finley close to the team lead in receptions and yards from the tight end position. Greg Jennings does lead with 263 yards on 18 receptions but any Packer receiver can produce a big game if the others are taken away. Ryan Grant looked good at Chicago but is questionable with a kidney bruise and James Starks will see added carries if Grant cannot go with both runners putting up similar numbers to this point. Bryan Bulaga is listed as questionable with a knee sprain and bruise but is not expected to play as of Wednesday.
Denver looks to shake a pretty poor run of late as they are 2-5 against the spread in the last seven road games with just four ATS wins in their last 15 games overall. Green Bay is just the opposite with 6-1 ATS records both in their last seven home games and overall and the home team is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between the teams. The Packers are on top of this weeks Sagarin ratings with the Broncos coming in at 23rd.
Evergreens pick to cover the spread: Too many injuries and not enough playmakers make this one a tough prospect for the Broncos and while you have to be careful with any double digit line, Green Bay deserves that respect this week. The Packers will give up yards, especially over the middle and a handful of points, but this one has 35-17 written all over it. Go with the green and gold and lay the 13.
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