Fresh out of a week 7 bye week, the Green Bay Packers are sitting amongst the NFL elite at 6-0, but are arranged for their biggest challenge yet, the 6-0 Denver Broncos. For the first time in NFL history, there are five undefeated teams entering week seven, though, at least one of the teams are destined to leave Sports Authority Field at Mile High no longer undefeated, a symbol that would consequently end one team’s perfect season.
Who: Green Bay Packers (6-0) @ Denver Broncos (6-0)
What: Week 7 of the NFL Regular Season
When: Sunday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Battle of the unbeaten
According to Elias Sports Bureau, this matchup features the fourth NFL matchup in which two undefeated teams with six or more wins each in NFL history face off; and the first since New England (8-0) at Indianapolis (7-0) on Nov. 4, 2007.
To some, the seemingly perfect seasons both of these teams have displayed is not a surprise. Rather, several aspects of each team’s performances are unusual.
In particular, both team’s defenses have provided distinctive performances throughout the season. The Packers and Broncos rank 1st and T-2nd respectively, in regards to average points allowed. Through week 6 of the NFL season, the performance of the Packer’s defense has the team sitting atop the NFC.
[Over the years] They are always very well coached, they will give you a lot of different looks… they try to maximize their [the players] abilities,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said of Capers, via Packers.com conference call.
Of the players Manning noted, Manning praised linebacker Clay Matthew’s ability to make plays in multiple facets of the game. Coming into this matchup, Matthews has a total of 4.5 sacks, despite his position switch from outside linebacker to inside this offseason.
Last season the Packers and Broncos were ranked 13th and 16th in points allowed respectively.
Although both team’s defenses are one of the early surprises early in the season, both teams are challenged by the opponent’s offenses this week, led by Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
Tale of two quarterbacks
The matchup Manning and Rodgers on a Sunday cannot be overlooked. Between the two, they combine for 18 Pro Bowl appearances, seven MVP awards, and have only played against each other once, when the Packers defeated the Indianapolis Colts in 2008.
But this matchup comes some seven years later, in a new environment for Manning. Coming off of three straight playoff appearances, including a loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Similarly, Rodgers has seen his share of success in recent history, including a Super Bowl victory in XLV. Since then, Rodgers has won two MVP awards and three straight playoff appearances, despite not appearing in the Super Bowl since his sole appearance in 2011.
But this is a new year with new standards, and it has been a tale of two different tapes. For Rodgers, he has led his Packers to a comfortable undefeated record due to his precision and dominance. Meanwhile, for Manning, he has thrown 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, though, he hasn’t lost the support of his teammates and coaching staff, including new head coach Gary Kubiak.
“He’s a tremendous leader. He’s all in and working his tail off,” Kubiak said, according to Packers.com. “If you stick around long enough in this league, you understand you have to win a lot of ways. We’ll have to play well as a team.”
Both the Packers and Broncos have a feeling of refreshment coming off of their bye week last week, and for the Packers, they seemingly hold the advantage coming out of the bye week.
According to Packers.com, in games immediately following its bye week, Green Bay has won 15 of its last 19. McCarthy (8-1) is tied with Marv Levy (8-1) for the best record by an NFL coach in the game after the bye (min. eight games).
Though McCarthy has played particularly well coming off of a bye week, Kubiak and the Broncos will have about 14 days of rest coming into Sunday night’s matchup.
The Packers are favorited, according to Odd Shark, by 2.5.
Packers Wednesday injury report
Did not Practice: Ty Montgomery (ankle), James Starks (hip)
Limited: Davante Adams (ankle), Morgan Burnett (calf), Nick Perry (shoulder), B.J. Raji (groin)
Full: Nate Palmer (chest)
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