Five reasons why Packers could beat Broncos

To some, it may have been a surprise to see the Green Bay Packers open as a three-point favorite in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.

After all, the Broncos also bring a 6-0 record into the game, and they're at home, which is usually worth three points to the oddsmakers.

But here are five reasons the Packers could -- and probably should -- win the game (even if yours truly is picking the Broncos; see our NFL Nation picks to be posted later Friday):

1. Respect for Manning: Peyton Manning, the NFL's only five-time MVP might be washed up. His numbers -- just seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions -- and his declining arm strength suggest as much. But the Packers aren't taking him lightly in their preparation.

"He's Peyton Manning, regardless," Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels said. "You can't take anything away from him, regardless what's going on. The instant we let our guard down, we're going to get embarrassed."

Said defensive coordinator Dom Capers: "I see enough. If we start thinking that way, this guy can still move that team up and down the field."

2. Faith in Rodgers: Yes, Tom Brady and Andy Dalton are having remarkable seasons. But all things considered, Aaron Rodgers might be playing even better given what he has had to deal with: No Jordy Nelson for the season, no Davante Adams for the last three games and a banged-up Randall Cobb. Yet Rodgers has played nearly flawless football with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

"We have Aaron," Daniels said.

And in most games, that's enough.

3. Adams returns: Adams is expected to play for the first time since Week 3, when he sprained his left ankle for the second time. The hope is that it gives Rodgers another target on the outside, where he has found it difficult to make plays down the field. If that happens, it could alleviate some of the pressure and coverage on Cobb in the slot.

"You know we've been missing him the last few weeks without him out there," Rodgers said. "So it's nice he's back 100 percent or close to it, I hope."

Adams made it through practice on both Wednesday and Thursday without any setbacks.

4. Improved defense: As much as the Packers may not want to admit it, their offense has carried them the past several years. That may not be the case any longer. For the first time since Week 15 of the 2010 season, Capers' unit leads the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 16.8 points per game.

"When it really comes down to it, what's kind of gotten us that 6-0 record and the strong defensive performance, especially points per game, is the fact that we've played very solid in the red zone," linebacker Clay Matthews said.

Yes, they still give up yards -- such as the 503 passing yards Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers put on them in their last game -- but the Packers have perhaps more playmakers than they've ever had under Capers.

5. They're just that good: There's a reason the Packers are favored and that most of the ESPN panel of experts are picking them to win this game: They're just that good. And they're especially good coming out of bye weeks. Under McCarthy, the Packers are 8-1 after a week off.