Packers can go full circle with victory over Broncos in Week 3

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers’ decline started against the Denver Broncos in 2015, but they now have the chance against the same opponents to prove they’ve gone full circle.

Entering the 2015 season, the Green Bay Packers were among the favorites in the NFC. The year before, they averaged a league-high 30.4 points per game and reached the NFC Championship Game as the No. 2 seed. Had it not been for a fourth-quarter collapse, they’d have been Super Bowl-bound.

And despite losing superstar wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the preseason, the Packers were rolling early on in 2015, entering their bye week at a perfect 6-0.

Following the week off, the Packers met the undefeated Denver Broncos on the road. And, well, it didn’t go well.

Aaron Rodgers finished the game with just 77 passing yards and was sacked three times. Denver’s defense dominated, allowing Green Bay to score just 10 points in the game, while the Broncos had 500 total yards compared to the Packers’ 140.

It was a performance Packers fans weren’t used to. Wide receivers couldn’t get open. The run game struggled. Green Bay had to punt five times.

But unfortunately this wasn’t a one-off, rather a sign of what was to come. The Packers lost the following week in Carolina, and then at home to Detroit for the first time in over two decades. By the end of the regular season, the team had gone 4-6 following the bye week.

The complete opposite happened in 2016. The inconsistency continued on offense with Green Bay beginning the year 4-6 before Aaron Rodgers rediscovered his MVP form, leading the team to six straight wins to win the NFC North.

After another NFC Championship Game defeat, and this time a convincing one, the Packers hoped they’d finally get back to their best in 2017. But they haven’t been back to the playoffs since and had a combined 13-18-1 record in 2017 and 2018.

But here we are. Entering Week 3 of the 2019 season. The Packers have a new head coach. The defense looks the best we’ve seen in a decade, ranking second in the NFL for points allowed and tied for first in takeaways.

The offense is still rebuilding, but there were reasons for optimism following a dominant first quarter against the Vikings in which the Packers put up 21 unanswered points on a very good defense.

More importantly, Green Bay is 2-0 for the first time since 2015. It finally feels like this team could be ready to seriously contend for a Super Bowl again.

On Sunday, the Packers meet the Broncos for the first time since their 29-10 defeat four years ago. That game began their decline. At Lambeau Field this week, the Packers have the chance to win a third straight and show that they’ve gone full circle and reestablished themselves as one of the top teams in the NFC.