|NFL Week 8: Packers at Broncos Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Sunday, 28 October 2007 11:00|
Showdown at Mile High
The Green Bay Packers have been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL. They've climbed to the top of their division in spite of having a one-dimensional offense.
Following their bye week, Brett Favre and the NFC North-leading Packers look to continue their early season success and win for the first time in Denver when they visit the Broncos on Monday night.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Denver -3 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Monday's game, the over/under has been set at 41 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Green Bay +3 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
After going just 1-4 before its bye week last season, Green Bay (5-1) has jumped out to its best start since winning eight of its first nine games in 2002.
The Packers have managed to win despite having a rushing offense that is last in the league in yards per game (65.7), 30th in yards per attempt (3.3) and tied with Detroit for last in attempts per game (20.2). Green Bay may have a chance to get its running game on track against Denver, which is allowing a league-worst average of 176.2 rushing yards a game.
"I guess there's two ways to look at it. We're buying time, we're hanging on by a thread," Favre said. "Then again, if we do come together more as a team and correct the mistakes that we're making, we can make it easier on ourselves.
"We could very easily be sitting here today 6-0. We very well could be, what, 3-3 or whatever. I'm not complaining."
As a result, the offense has turned to Favre, passing the ball 68.1 percent of the time this season, the most in the NFL.
He's been a huge reason for the Packers' success. Favre has 1,715 yards passing with nine touchdowns and six interceptions, and became the NFL's career leader in touchdown passes (423), attempts (8,470) and wins by a starting quarterback (152) this season.
The three-time league MVP, however, is looking to bounce back from his worst game of the season.
Favre was 19-for-37 for a season-low 188 yards with two interceptions in Green Bay's 17-14 win over Washington on Oct. 14. His two picks came on badly underthrown deep passes.
"I can honestly say that in my career it hasn't happened many times ... I thought it was actually going to be overthrown and it ended up 10 yards shorter than where I had intended," Favre said. "Why? I have no idea.
"For all of us, consistency is the No. 1 thing we're looking to achieve week in and week out. And we haven't got to that point yet."
Favre is 17-15 all-time on Monday nights, but has lost his five appearances.
The 38-year-old is 3-1 all-time against the Broncos in the regular season, throwing for 751 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games.
In his only career game at Denver on Oct. 17, 1999, Favre went just 7-for-23 for 120 yards and three interceptions of a 31-10 loss. Denver is one of just three cities where the future Hall of Famer has not thrown a TD pass. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are the others.
The Packers have not had any better luck in Denver, losing all five of their visits.
The Broncos (3-3) are coming off a 31-28 home victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday night, as Jason Elam connected on a 49-yard field goal as time expired.
The victory ended a three-game slide, and helped erase the bitter memory of a 41-3 loss to San Diego on Oct. 7 - the franchise's worst home defeat in its 41-year history - from before its bye week.
"It's a huge win for us and hopefully a big confidence builder for us," said Elam, who has kicked the game-winner in all three of Denver's wins. "We were starting to maybe doubt a little bit. To beat a team like Pittsburgh is going to do wonders for our confidence."
Second-year quarterback Jay Cutler had one of the best games of his brief career. Although he threw two interceptions, he completed a career-high 75.9 percent of his passes (22-of-29) for 248 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He also directed a seven-play, 44-yard drive to set up the winning score.
"Instead of going up a notch, he went up two notches," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said of Cutler's progression through the team's first six games. "He played the No. 1 defense in the NFL, found a way to move the ball in the fourth quarter, found a way to win. You're hoping your quarterback does for you."
This will be Cutler's first start against Green Bay and first Monday night game.
The Packers won the last meeting against the Broncos on Dec. 28, 2003, as Favre passed for 116 yards, one touchdown and had one pick in a 31-3 victory at Lambeau Field.
The Broncos have won two straight Monday night games at Invesco Field, and 10 of their last 13 Monday home games. They have played four of their six games at home this season, splitting those games.
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