PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the second of five key matchups this week in advance of the Packers' Week Four game against the Broncos at Lambeau Field Sunday.
Broncos WRs Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker vs. Packers CBs Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and Sam Shields
If new Broncos head coach John Fox has his druthers, his team will come out of the chute Sunday at Lambeau Field effectively running the ball, thereby setting up passes off play-action to Lloyd and Decker, Broncos QB Kyle Orton's primary targets with both Eddie Royal (groin) and Demaryius Thomas (finger) expected to be out of the mix.
Lloyd had a breakout season for the Broncos last season, finishing seventh in the AFC with 77 catches for 1,448 yards (18.8 yards per catch) and 11 TDs. But he has taken a back seat so far this season to Decker, a fifth-rounder last year who currently leads the team with 15 catches for 214 yards (tied for 25th in receiving yards with Redskins TE Fred Davis) and two touchdowns. Lloyd has 10 catches for 127 yards.
Lloyd's lack of speed often results in situations requiring him to make acrobatic, highlight-reel catches, which he is able to do with his exceptional body control and fearlessness in tight spaces. Decker has more size and is very athletic. But he is also very raw.
The Packers' corners played better against the Bears last week, but they still had some breakdowns, particularly No. 3 CB Sam Shields, who, for whatever reason, isn't playing real well so far this season. Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams (back in action last week after missing one game with a shoulder injury) and Shields have 10 pass breakups between them through three games. Williams, a playmaking machine last season, has one fumble recovery so far. Shields has a forced fumble, while Woodson, who is playing safety in some formations, has a fumble recovery and two interceptions, which matches his 2010 output.