Defense holds Green Bay's attention**
Denver's defense still reigns supreme heading into Week 8. In 10 key defensive statistical rankings, the Broncos rank in the top five and are first in four categories – including yardage allowed per game (281.3) and per play (4.26).
With those kinds of numbers, it's hard for any opposing offense to ignore. Just like Denver's past six opponents, the Packers had lots of compliments to pay -- especially for their elite pass rushers, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
"I think that duo right there is as good as you're going to see in the league," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I've played against DeMarcus a few times, got to know him a little bit. Von works out at our spot in L.A., so it's been fun getting to know him a little bit. They're both incredible players. They bring a lot to the game."
Head coach Mike McCarthy also sees a lot from the Broncos on tape, including the unit's depth.
" … I think [Defensive Coordinator] Wade [Phillips] does such an incredible job as far as getting his system in and how fast his players have always played at all of his stops that I've had the opportunity to compete against him," McCarthy said. "Clearly in Denver, it's a very talented defense, they have excellent depth and their numbers speak for themselves. We're very impressed with what we've seen on film."
The Broncos have made a name for themselves in clutch situations after forcing at least one takeaway in the last seven and a half minutes of the fourth quarter in every game so far this year.
When asked what he will look to do to avoid those giveaways on offense, Rodgers had a simple response: "Don't throw it to the defense. I try to throw it to our guys."
Jones' second coming
With the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a torn anterior cruciate ligament just two weeks into the preseason, many wondered what kind of impact his loss would have on the Packers' receiving corps.
Enter James Jones.
Jones was drafted by the Packers in 2007 but signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2014 after seven seasons in Green Bay. Jones was released and signed with Giants in 2015, only to be released a month later. A day later he agreed to terms with the Packers and stepped into Nelson's big shoes.
Jones now leads the Packers with 424 receiving yards on 21 receptions and has added six scores.
Former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer attended practice on Wednesday as the team continued to prepare for the Packers.
"Things happen for a reason," McCarthy said. "His path to Oakland to New York and back here is something that we're obviously thankful for … I think James, like he always has, takes advantage of opportunities. Even when he was a younger player, when he got in there, he took advantage of it and established himself. He kind of picked up right where he left off."
But Jones and the rest of the Packers receiving unit will have to face off against Denver's stingy secondary and ball-hawking cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.
"They're great players, they're excellent players," Rodgers said. "They're Pro-Bowl players. Aqib is playing the position at the highest level and so is Chris. Those guys are fantastic athletes. They do it a little differently, but they're both very effective and so you've got to be smart with the football. They both have good ball skills."
Battle of the commercials
It's easy to pit quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Rodgers against each other. Both are Super Bowl MVPs, with Rodgers on an upward trajectory in his career and Manning nearing completion of inking his name on just about every quarterback NFL record.
That's cool and all, but everyone really knows Sunday's game is 'Chicken Parm' vs. 'Discount Double Check.'
Outside of fantasy-football talk, Rodgers says that when fans approach him, they mostly want to talk about his comical State Farm commercials.
"People love to do [the 'Discount Double Check'] and yell it," Rodgers said. "I think sometimes when they get nervous about what to say, that's kind of the thing that hits their brain right away. State Farm appreciates it."
Rodgers knows that Manning can share that feeling as he is known for his love of 'Chicken Parm' in his Nationwide commercials.
"I'm sure with Peyton they probably sing the jingle to him a lot when he's out and about. 'Chicken Parm', possibly," Rodgers said. "He's got some great commercials."
While Rodgers jokes about their respective commercials, he says he has lots of respect for Manning and his sense of humor.
"Got to know him a little bit at some events, he's a very funny guy," Rodgers said. "Fun to be around. He's always cracking jokes and got a great personality. I love his commercials. He's been doing it at the highest level for a long time, so you've got to have a ton of respect, and I do. I appreciate the contributions he's made to the game. Both on and off the field. He's a legend."