Stopping Manning No Longer Key to Packers Victory

For the Green Bay Packers the key to victory against the Denver Broncos does not likely lie in intense film-study sessions scheming how to stop Peyton Manning from beating them.  For the once unstoppable Manning 2015 might very well be his swan song in the NFL after very un-Peyton like performances so far this season.  

For the Green Bay Packers the key to victory against the Denver Broncos does not likely lie in intense film-study sessions scheming on how to stop Peyton Manning from beating them.  For the once unstoppable Manning 2015 might very well be his swan song in the NFL after very un-Peyton like performances so far this season.

Manning is just two years removed from a record-setting 2013 season.  He set single season records for passing yards (5477) and touchdowns (55) while recording a mere 10 interceptions that same year.  His 342.3 passing yards per game average helped him achieve a 115.1 QB rating, his team to a 13-3 regular season record and a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII where they eventually were trounced by the Seattle Seahawks 43 – 8.

For the current season Manning is averaging only 254 passing yards per game while throwing at a mediocre 61% completion rate.  Most surprising however is that he has thrown only 7 touchdown passes while dispensing 10 interceptions including 3 against his last opponent the Cleveland Browns.  His passer rating of 72.5 ranks 40th in the league for all passers with a minimum of 23 pass attempts and trails in passer rating to under-whelming signal-callers E.J. Manuel, Colin Kaepernick and Mike Vick.

According to the Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak the blame goes beyond Manning’s performance.  "I know as a group we can play better. Manning is battling his tail off. Some of the plays that he's made have been tremendous. It's not about one guy. It's about the football team", Kubiak said recently.

It can be argued that Manning would certainly be more efficient if their running game were at least respectable. But it is not.

Denver’s 71.6 rushing yards per game ranks 30th and their 3.3 yards per rush attempt is 31st in the league.  The Broncos continuing struggles on first down leads to too many third-and-longs. The Broncos successful third-down conversion rate of 32 percent ranks 28th.  Not surprisingly the Broncos average conversion on third down is eight yards which in-turn leads to heavy third down pressure, sacks and interceptions.

Broncos’ beat writer Troy Renck of the Denver Post sums up the situation this way:  (opponents) Defenses continue to blitz because they rarely suffer major consequences. The Broncos' 12 passing plays of more than 20 yards ranks 26th. And Manning has completed only five of 19 passes of at least 21 yards. As a result, the Broncos see more defenders near the line of scrimmage and more pressure.

That doesn’t mean that Manning cannot win on Sunday.  But it does mean that if his performance against the much-improved Packers’ defense doesn’t markedly improve, it will be up to other Broncos players to carry the day.  By-in-large that has been the formula for victory to date especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The Broncos success for the most part has relied upon a scary-good defense which ranks first in the league in allowing a stingy 281.3 yards per game.  They also rank number-one against the pass by allowing only 192.2 yards per game.  Their league-leading 26 QB sacks is slightly better than the #2 Packers who have themselves chalked up 23 sacks for the season.   They are also 4th in interceptions with nine, again just slightly better than the Packers who have recorded eight.

The Broncos’ season record has been padded by playing against some of the league’s light-weights.  The cumulative record of their opponents is 13 – 27. The wins have come against Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland and Minnesota.  Only Minnesota has a winning record (4-2).

The Denver Broncos like the Green Bay Packers will carry a perfect 6-0 record vs. the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sunday Night Football.  The contest will be the national game-of-the-week with current ticket prices reflecting the interest and are reported to be the highest of any NFL game so far this season – starting at over $400 for upper-deck seats to over $3000 for prime lower-bowl seating.

The addition of owner Pat Bowlen into the Broncos’ Ring of Honor will be held at half-time.

The Packers are currently 3-point favorites to win the contest.

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Comments (10)

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Since'61's picture

October 30, 2015 at 07:46 am

If the Packers do not turn the ball over and continue to play solid defense they should win this game, especially if their injured players return. I look for the Packers to set the tempo in this game with their ground game (assuming Lacy and Starks are ready to go). Rodgers mobility can be a factor in this game against the strong Denver pass rush. As usual if the Packers OL plays well the Packers should win. On defense the Packers need to get pressure up the middle against Manning, make him move and he will make some poor throws. I'm not sure if Denver has any offensive weapons that can hurt the Packers defense in a big way. Hopefully the Packers can get an early lead and take the crowd out of the game. Go Pack! Thanks, Since '61

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 30, 2015 at 07:57 am

'I'm not sure if Denver has any offensive weapons that can hurt the Packers defense in a big way.'

Denver's do have 2 big weapons on offense. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Both are very good-great WR's.

That being said I agree with your take. If they don't turn the ball over and play good defense they should win this game.

This game to me will be decided in the trenches. If Packers OL blocks well and gives Rodgers time to operate, and opens holes for the Running game that will neutralize Denver's pass rush. Also if the Packers DL stuffs the run and gets pressure on Manning they should be able to create some turnovers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 30, 2015 at 08:28 am

Thomas has 48 receptions, 11 yds/rec and Sanders has 38 receptions, 13.9 yards per reception. Their TE Owen Daniels has 14 receptions for a lousy 6.1 yards per reception in 6 games. It has been pretty much a two headed receiving corps.

I'd note that RB Hillman has 66 rushes for a robust 4.9 yards per carry. C. J. Anderson has 67 carries but is only averaging 2.7 yds/rush (long of just 14 yards) after averaging 4.7 yds/rush and gaining 849 yards in part time work last season. By comparison, Starks has 63 carries, 4.5 yds/carry, and Lacy has 67 for 3.9 yds per rush.

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Since'61's picture

October 30, 2015 at 09:42 am

Deleted

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

"The Broncos’ season record has been padded by playing against some of the league’s light-weights. The cumulative record of their opponents is 13 – 27. The wins have come against Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Oakland and Minnesota. Only Minnesota has a winning record (4-2)."

The Packers have no wins against an above .500 team while Denver does vs Minn.

Chi-2/4,Sea-3/4,SF-2/5,STL-3/3,SD-2/5

With an added note that STL was not 3/3 when we played them for a 14/26 opponent record which is incredibly better than the 13/27 of Denver's opponents...give me a break with the stats.

Stats don't win nor lose games but offers a 'translate' as you wish ability, since Denver is as much 6-0 as Green Bay.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

Keep in mind that there are only 6 teams outside of the 5 undefeated teams that have winning records right now...

There is a lot of teams right around .500 right now in the league.

You are correct. Stats don't win or lose games. The only stat that matters at the end of the day is the Win/Loss...

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Tarynfor12's picture

October 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

"Keep in mind that there are only 6 teams outside of the 5 undefeated teams that have winning records right now..."

All the more reason that the use of the cumulative record of Denver's opponents and not mentioning Green Bay's is utter fodder....unless maintaining bias be the reward.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 30, 2015 at 04:03 pm

utter fodder... That's freakin hilarious even if you didn't intend it to be.

Beside those 11 teams mentioned there's another 8 teams at or w/in a game of .500. The NFL has what it wants... Parity. Plus its too early in the season to really get a real grip on any kind of rating of a teams strength of schedule.

Just kind of a pointless use of another mostly useless stat. At least till the end of the season.

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Bohj's picture

October 30, 2015 at 01:05 pm

Throwing stats out altogether. I would gladly argue that our opponents have been way more formidable than Denver's so far.

And I expect that Seattle, Rams, and San Diego will all end up with records over .500.

With that being said, the Packers have dominated many parts of the games they've played and simply let teams get back in towards the end.

Denver has looked awful. They won on a fluke Charles fumble against the Chiefs to avoid OT. They had to take the Browns to OT. They have required defensive scoring to produce points.
The only team they looked good against was the hapless Lions.

Denver's D is legit. But that O is a mess. Their D will not win the game for them this time. This isn't Stafford or Smith or Carr or Josh effin McCown here coming to town.

We are a more complete team. And the defenses we've played so far have us ready for this game with more healthy weaponry.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 30, 2015 at 11:42 am

This game just needs to happen already.

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