Top 3 Individual Matchups
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good Advantage – Pass rush – Green Bay’s pass protection left a lot to be desired last season giving up 50 sacks. They had some issues out of the gate in Week 1 at Philadelphia giving up three sacks as the Eagles had some unique looks defensively. Buffalo’s defenders have said they’ll have some different stuff in this week, and that could pay dividends in getting consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
Best Advantage – Run game – Though Buffalo’s rushing attack did not produce in Week 1 that figures to change in Week 2. The offense intends to re-commit heavily to the ground attack and they’ll be doing it against a Packers defense that surrendered 150 last week.
Bills Number 1 Must
Successful ground game – We saw in Week 1, what can happen to Buffalo’s offense when they can’t run the football. Maintaining at least a capable, if not wildly productive, running game will be essential if the Bills are to be in this one. If they can run, they’ll be able to force the Green Bay defense to respect play fakes and use more play action while controlling the clock and keeping the Packers high-powered offense off the field.
The Packers vaunted offense was off to an impressive start in Week 1 at Philadelphia. They had an interception and gave up three sacks on their first three possessions, but between the second and third quarters they scored on four straight drives, including 10 points in the final two minutes before the half. So even when an opponent might have Green Bay down the potential for them to find their rhythm and respond quickly is always present.
Pack lose top tailback
The Packers depth at tailback is being tested early in the season. Starting running back Ryan Grant was lost for the season in Week 1 after he suffered ligament damage in his ankle at Philadelphia. With rookie and UB product James Starks already on Reserve/PUP, Green Bay had just backup Brandon Jackson. They’ve since signed rookie Dimitri Nance off the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.
Jackson and FB John Kuhn are expected to handle the bulk of the rushing duties.
Nicked up defense
Already without starting DE Johnny Jolly, who is serving a league-imposed suspension, the Packers lost DE Justin Harrell for the season with a torn ACL in the opener. Meanwhile their other DE Cullen Jenkins has been limited in practice this week after breaking his hand on the first series of the opener. Rookie backup DE Mike Neal sustained a rib injury in the opener and could not practice on Wednesday and was limited Thursday and that’s just the defensive line.
Primary pass rusher Clay Matthews is working through a hamstring injury that’s been an ongoing thing since the preseason and has been limited in practice this week. Starting CB Charles Woodson is dealing with a toe injury and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and the team is already without their other starting cornerback Al Harris.
Producing on returns
Green Bay’s offense can usually manage if they’re handed poor field position, but that hasn’t been an issue on kickoffs. Kick returner Jordy Nelson averaged a career-best 31.2 yards per return last week, including a long of 51 yards. On his last three returns he provided the Packers with drive starts at their own 36, 40 and 49-yard lines.
Youth in secondary
As much as the Bills will try to establish the ground game on Sunday, they might want to spread the Packers out on a handful of plays. That’s because they’re currently starting a pair of rookies in their nickel defense. Packers third-round pick Morgan Burnett is starting at strong safety next to veteran Nick Collins, while undrafted rookie Sam Shields comes in as the third corner. Testing those rookies in the passing game could prove fruitful.
Greg Jennings is not just the team’s top wideout, he, much like Lee Evans, is the team’s primary deep threat. Proof of that is in his career receiving average of 16.1 yards. Almost half of Jennings’ 29 career touchdown receptions have been 40 yards or more (13), and since 2007 no other NFL receiver has more 40-plus yard receptions than Jennings 21.
Quote of the Week
“We’re a confident bunch. We don’t intend on going out here and letting these guy throw for 400 yards on us and run up and down the football field. We expect to come out and stop them. We expect to get up in their faces and challenge them and make them compete, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
--SS Donte Whitner
Stat of the Week
After Week 1
Milestones in Reach
Lee Evans needs one 100-plus yard receiving game to mark the 14th in his career and tie Frank Lewis for the fourth-most in team history.
In each of his last three games against AFC opponents, Aaron Rodgers has thrown three or more touchdown passes.