Bills-Packers preview

The Bills will enter their third preseason contest with the opportunity for the offense to get some valuable work against a defensive front they'll be seeing a lot of come the regular season in the AFC East. Buffalo will be facing Green Bay's new 3-4 defensive front installed by new defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

It's a front that gave Buffalo's offense a lot of trouble, particularly when it came to the passing game. When the Bills were in obvious passing situations last season and their 3-4 opponents dropped eight into coverage there weren't many places for Trent Edwards to go with the football.

But this preseason Edwards is excited about getting some quality snaps against it.

"I'm looking forward to it a lot," said Edwards. "I think we're facing a good 3-4 team that has a new defensive coordinator (Dom Capers). I know that they have some great linebackers and some great interior linemen and a pretty solid secondary. I think three of them went to the Pro Bowl last year. So I'm eager to see what our offense can do against their defense."

Buffalo's coaching staff is looking for improved performance in a few areas after last week's 27-20 win over Chicago.

"Not make mistakes that we made in the (last) game," said offensive coordinator Turk Schonert. "We had a couple. Trent missed a hot read, and it resulted in a sack. He had another missed read that resulted in a sack, so I know he wants to improve on those things.

"Individually guys have to improve and as an offense we've got to not turn the ball over. That led to seven points for them, so we've got to continue to work on that.

"We had too many false starts, pre-snap penalties. We've emphasized that all camp and that was probably the most we've had was last game, so there are a lot of different areas that we need to improve on."

Head coach Dick Jauron would also like to see some more touchdowns instead of field goals.

"(We) just want to score more," said Jauron. "The more you score on offense the better you are. Just keep scoring points and it'll be a big challenge to do that."

Buffalo's head coach said the starters on both sides of the ball will play at least a quarter, and depending on the flow of the game possibly a bit more.

Notable performersSome of the more noteworthy performances in Buffalo's last preseason game against Chicago included Trent Edwards who went 10-for-10 passing for 79 yards. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 143 yards on 13-16 passing.

Leodis McKelvin recorded his second interception in as many games and rookie seventh-round pick Ellis Lankster had a pair of interceptions that both led to points for the Bills.

Tight end Jonathan Stupar had six catches for 56 yards.

Chris Ellis had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Rookie fifth-round pick Nic Harris had a sack and pass breakup that both ended Chicago drives forcing the Bears to settle for field goals.

The opponent
Green Bay is coming off an impressive debut preseason performance after shutting out the Cleveland Browns 17-0.

The Packers offensive starters proved very effective scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions. All told Green Bay rushed for 230 yards and logged almost 40 minutes of possession time in the game.

Defensively, they were just as effective allowing just 59 rushing yards with Cleveland managing just 191 total yards. At one point the Packers had three interceptions on three straight Browns possessions prior to the end of the first half. The Green Bay defense finished the game with four picks in total.

Green Bay's new 3-4 defensive scheme generated pressure that led to some of their takeaways. The Packers had three sacks on the evening.

Top picks
Green Bay top draft choice B.J. Raji is expected to play Saturday night as he'll make his Packers debut. Raji, who signed his contract on Aug. 14 was widely regarded as the best defensive tackle in the draft and was the ninth overall selection.

Bills top pick Aaron Maybin, who just signed Friday, did not make the trip to Green Bay and will begin practicing with the team Monday. Buffalo took him two picks after the Packers selected Raji.

In and outBills second-round pick Jairus Byrd made the trip with the team and is expected to play after missing the previous two preseason contests while on the non-football injury list following offseason surgery.

"I just want to get my feet wet as soon as I can get in there and start the recovery so to speak of just coming back," said Byrd. "The quicker I can come back the quicker I can just be back to my old self."

How much action Byrd sees remains to be seen, but the coaching staff is eager to bring the rookie up to speed at his new free safety position as quickly as possible and game reps will only help in that process.

After missing the first two preseason games wide receiver Steve Johnson is expected to play. Johnson had been plagued by a rib cartilage injury.

Not expected to play for the Bills are cornerback Drayton Florence, tight end Travis McCall, linebackers Ashlee Palmer and Pat Thomas, defensive tackle Marcus Smith and wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Series history
This will be the 13th meeting between the Bills and Packers in the preseason. Green Bay has the superior record in those matchups with a 9-3 mark against Buffalo in the 12 previous preseason contests.

Buffalo however, won the last preseason meeting between the clubs posting a 27-7 victory over the Pack on Aug. 20, 2005. 

Kickoff Saturday night is set for 8pm.

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