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'Those mean something to our team': Looking for first home win of 2023, Broncos motivated to defend home turf as Packers come to Denver

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have come painstakingly close to at least one home win in 2023, losing their first two games by a combined three points to Las Vegas and Washington. They also held a late game-winning drive attempt against the Jets before a late defensive touchdown by New York.

With the Green Bay Packers (2-3) coming to Empower Field at Mile High, the Broncos have their sights set on securing a victory in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.

"We have to take advantage of that," Head Coach Sean Payton said after practice on Wednesday. "We've got great crowd noise. Our fans are fantastic. I just finished talking about it [with the team]. We have a stretch of two weeks in a row here at home. I think that's important."

Safety Justin Simmons reiterated the importance of Sunday's game, pointing to the chance to reverse Denver's recent losing streak and to win its first home game as motivators against the Packers.

"It's super important," Simmons said. "I say it every week, it feels like, and it's frustrating to get up here and say it every week, but yeah, this one, it's important. And I'm not just saying that to say it — especially when you have a few losses and you've just got to get back in the win column, … the next one's the most important one, which is Sunday against Green Bay.

"It's at home, and I know it's been tough, but [I] really want to give the fans a home win, and I'm looking forward to doing that on Sunday."

For quarterback Russell Wilson, the opportunity for the Broncos to play a complete game at home is one that he and the team are embracing through practice this week.

"We've got to win at home," Wilson said. "It's important for us to show our fans what we're capable [of] at home. We've had some games where I feel like we could have won them, close games, close matchups at home. Those matter, those mean something to our team, to us as players and coaches and also the fan base."

Wilson also called the matchup against the Packers a "good challenge" and praised both sides of the ball. At the same time, he believes the Broncos' home fans could be a major factor in inspiring a home victory.

"They have some really good players on defense, they have some good players on offense, they can do some really good things across the board [and] they're coached well," Wilson said. "So this is going to be a good challenge for us. Their fans travel well, but our fans are nice and loud at home, and it will be huge for us to hear our fans throughout the whole game and how much they mean to us, and how that helps us catch that momentum and hopefully win these games."

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