NFL Week 3 Preview: Broncos at Packers

Aaron Rodgers and company will host the winless Broncos at Lambeau Field

KA Sports Photos, Flickr
  • As of Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers (2-0) were listed as 7.5-point favorites in a home matchup against the Denver Broncos (0-2) in Week 3.

  • At that time, the consensus point total was listed at 42.5

  • Denver is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.

  • Green Bay is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against an AFC opponent.

  • BetQL labels the Packers as the best bet (spread, moneyline) and lists the over as a ★★★★★ bet in its NFL Model

Broncos at Packers 

Sunday, 1:00pm EST

Consensus Spread: Packers -7.5

BetQL Rating: ★ Packers

Consensus Moneyline: Packers -370

BetQL Rating: ★★ Packers

Consensus Total: 42.5

BetQL Model: ★★★★★ over 42.5

Note: All data presented below is as of 9:00pm EST on Thursday

Situation Before Kickoff 

The Denver Broncos enter Week 3 having scored only 30 total points in their first two games while the Packers have scored just 31 themselves. However, the Broncos are 0-2, and the Green Bay Packers are 2-0 with all four games being decided by one possession. 

The Broncos lost a Week 1 primetime matchup on Monday Night Football in Oakland against the Raiders by a final score of 24-16. The Packers also played in primetime during Week 1 as they defeated the Chicago Bears 10-3 in a defensive slugfest. The Bears flew to Denver in Week 2 where they defeated the Broncos 16-14 after a 53-yard Eddy Pineiro field goal sailed through the uprights -- a welcome sight to Bears fans after a missed double-doinker by Cody Parkey ended their playoff run last season. The Broncos are 0-2 for the first time since 1999 and things won’t get easier this week.

After mustering just 10 points in the season opener, the Green Bay offense scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions in their Week 2 matchup against another division foe,  the Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers completed nine of his first 10 passes for two touchdowns and recorded a perfect 158.3 rating in the first quarter, but the Green Bay offense couldn’t muster any more points in the final three quarters. 

The Packers defense came up big for the second straight week, as Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed just 14-of-32 passing attempts and was picked off by Kevin King in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. The Packers sit alone atop the NFC North rankings at 2-0 after two crucial division wins in as many weeks.

After going 2-0 straight up and against the spread in their first two games, continue reading to find out why BetQL’s NFL Model recommends you should take the Packers to cover the 7.5 point spread against the Broncos on Sunday afternoon and why the over should also hit. 

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Packers Preview

Leading the way for the Packers has been fourth year defensive lineman Kenny Clark. Clark has had a breakout campaign so far  in 2019 with 13 total pressures and two sacks through two games. He was once viewed as a one-dimensional run stopper and played sparingly on third downs as a rookie (13 percent). He has taken his pass rushing prowess to the next level as his defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is now comfortable leaving him in on all downs. 

Clark’s emergence gives the Packers the ability to get pressure with just three or four rushers which allows flexibility to drop more players into coverage, especially on third downs and in the red zone. So far this season, the Packers have held opposing quarterbacks to 0-for-6 passing in the red zone. They are just one of three NFL teams that is yet to allow a red zone touchdown. It’s no secret that a great pass rush helps a defense’s secondary. 

After struggling to rush the ball in Week 1,, the Packers had much more success on the ground against the Vikings as Aaron Jones rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries. Jamaal Williams also was featured more in the backfield in Week 2 as he not only got nine carries but also three receptions on four targets. Head coach Matt LaFleur noted that Williams will be utilized more this week. That usage will likely come on passing downs, as Rodgers might have to use check-downs out of the backfield more than usual due to the presence of Denver’s talented edge rushers. 

As of Friday morning, 56 percent of total bets were placed on the Broncos +7.5, but 59 percent of the money was placed on the Packers -7.5. View all Week 3 Public Betting data!

Broncos Preview

Coming into this season, Broncos fans were eager to watch the electric pass rushing duo consisting of former Super Bowl MVP and seven-time Pro Bowler Von Miller and the first pass rusher taken in the 2018 draft, Bradley Chubb. Von Miller finished fourth in the NFL last season with 14.5 sacks while Chubb ranked 14th with 12 sacks of his own. Combine these two talented players with the reigning Assistant Coach of the Year, former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio taking over as head coach in Denver, and expectations for this season skyrocketed defensively. However, two games into this season, Miller, Chubb and every other Broncos defender has combined for a grand total of zero sacks, leaving Denver as the only NFL franchise without a single sack this season. 

While the edge rushers have struggled on one side of the ball in Denver, the most prominent edge protector on the offense, left tackle Garett Bolles, has struggled early in his NFL career. Bolles was flagged 10 times for holding his rookie season, nine times in his sophomore campaign and already five times in his third season this year. The former first round pick picked up four penalties in Sunday’s loss and now has an NFL-leading 34 flags in 34 career starts. With the immobile Joe Flacco playing quarterback, it is imperative that Bolles improve his game on Flacco’s blind side if the Broncos hope to improve their 28th-ranked scoring offense. 

Despite the struggles at left tackle, Joe Flacco has developed some camaraderie with his top two receivers (Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton). Sanders ranks 12th in receiving yardage through two games and Sutton ranks 21st. The Broncos have not done a great job of turning those yards into points thus far, as Denver ranks 30th in red zone touchdown percentage this season. 

View NFL Sharp Picks For Week 3!

Prediction

BetQL’s NFL Model lists the Packers -7.5 as the best bet in this matchup. Aaron Rodgers’s offense hasn’t fired on all cylinders yet, but the Packers’ dominant defense has carried them and should help put this game out of reach by the fourth quarter. Bolles has struggled at left tackle for the Broncos, and Clark’s emergence in the middle of the Packers defense will give Green Bay the versatility to throw various pass rushers (either through stunts up front or blitzes) at Bolles on the left side without compromising the middle of the defense. 

If Rodgers and company can consistently put points on the board, Flacco will have to put the ball in the air and use Sanders and Sutton to push the ball down the field. Both teams need to make improvements on offense, so expect them to come out ready to showcase their new game plans after a week of preparation. BetQL’s model lists over the 42.5-point total as a five-star bet, projecting a much higher 49.5 total. 

Therefore, bet the over and bet on the Packers to cover in what is projected to be a sneaky shootout.