The Green Bay Packers (3-0) and Denver Broncos (1-2) face off in Week 4 of the NFL season Sunday.
When: 3:15 CST, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms with the call
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; Siruis Satellite Radio (Ch. 91)
Series: Packers lead, 6-5-1 (Packers won last regular season meeting, 19-13 (OT), on Oct. 29, 2007 at Denver.)
Five things to watch
A New House on the right side
With Bryan Bulaga on the sidelines this week recovering from an ankle and knee injury, second-year tackle Marshall Newhouse will make his first career NFL start. Remember, this is a guy who was inactive for every game he was healthy during his rookie year. But when Bulaga went down in Chicago, the Packers offense didn’t back off or change the gameplan. As we’ve seen so many times in the past two season, the beat simply went on for the Packers after an injury at an important position.
Still, you’d have to expect the Broncos to test Newhouse early and often, and they have the horses to do it. Aaron Rodgers compared Elvis Dumervil—who is still questionable for Sunday—to pass rushers like Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, and if Newhouse isn’t faced with him, then he’ll likely get rookie Von Miller. The Broncos’ No. 2 overall pick in April has impressed with his first step and natural pass rushing skills. Newhouse passed his first test last Sunday, but he gets a whole new challenge against the Broncos.
Rodgers vs. the blitz
Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has blitzed as much as any defensive coordinator in football through three games. That’s not surprising considering he came to Denver after serving three years under Gregg Williams in New Orleans as the secondary coach, but it’ll be interesting to see how Allen attacks the Packers offense. Williams went after Aaron Rodgers early in Week 1, and the Packers quarterback responded with three first quarter touchdown passes and a 158.3 rating after 15 minutes of football.
That isn’t surprising either, as Rodgers has been the best passer in the NFL against the blitz since taking over in 2008. He can recognize blitz looks in his pre-snap reads and will hit the hot appropriate hot read before the blitz gets home. Will Allen trust the stat sheet and tone down his blitzes? Or will he stick to what he’s shown through three weeks?