Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Cordy Glenn vs. Julius Peppers** – Buffalo's blind side protector will have a pass rusher who can match him physically in Peppers. Peppers has six sacks, nine QB hurries and 24 QB hits on the season. Glenn ranks in the top 20 in NFL tackle play this season.
2 – Stephon Gilmore vs. Jordy Nelson – Nelson is as big a deep threat as there is in the NFL. Gilmore's physical, 'in your face' style will be an interesting approach against a wideout that has a knack for getting behind defenders.
3 – Kyle Williams vs. Corey Linsley – The Bills' veteran DT often takes advantage of inexperienced opponents and the Packers rookie center could be the victim this week in a loud road atmosphere.
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage – Kick coverage – Buffalo is among the league leaders in kick coverage ranking fourth in the NFL. Giving Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense long fields will make it more difficult for the Packers to finish drives with scores.
Best advantage – Pass rush – The Bills are coming off their first game this season without a sack, but they still lead the league with 48. Green Bay ranks an average 16th in sacks allowed. Their quarterbacks have been taken down 27 times this season.
Bills Number 1 Must
Force field goals – There's no question Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is playing at an elite level right now, and Green Bay is sure to get their share of points. That's why the defense needs to keep the Packers from reaching the end zone on every scoring opportunity they have and force field goals. Green Bay is 11th in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency (59.3%).
Most everyone knows the Packers lead the league in scoring with 423 points in 13 games this season. A lot of those points are scored in the first quarter. Green Bay leads the NFL with 134 points in the first quarter. That's already tied the record for most first quarter points in a season (New England – 134 in 2007). The Packers have scored on their opening drive in eight of their last 10 games. They're also first in the NFL with 48 points scored on the first offensive possession this season.
Protecting the pigskin
A big reason why the Packers have been able to put up a 10-3 mark through 13 games is their ability to protect the football. Green Bay has turned the ball over a league-low eight times in 2014. Having a big hand in that figure is QB Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown just three interceptions this season, and has a pair of five-game streaks without throwing an INT. The Packers have not had a single turnover in seven games this year, tied for the most in the league. Mike McCarthy's club hasn't given the ball away since Nov. 9th.
Holding passers in check
The Packers defense isn't stout across the board, but they do stand seventh in the NFL in sacks with 29 thanks mainly to the tandem of Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. Pass pressure by Green Bay has come in the form of quarterback hits and hurries as well. There have been four games this season in which the Packers have logged at least eight quarterback hits in a game. All that pressure has held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of less than 85 in 10 of Green Bay's 13 games played this season.
Third and long is no problem
Green Bay is third in the league in third down conversion percentage, moving the sticks at a rate of almost 48 percent. What's unusual is when they're faced with third and long situations the Packers rank even higher in conversions. When faced with a 3rd-and-6 or more situation they convert at a rate of better than 40 percent, which leads the league. They're also the best in the NFL at 3rd-and-10 plus conversions this season.
Coming in hot
Aaron Rodgers comes into Sunday's game streaking. He has thrown no interceptions in his last five games and holds the highest passer rating in the league (119). He also leads the league in yards per attempt (8.78) and has the second-most passing touchdowns (35). Rodgers has also been accomplished against the blitz. In his 100 career starts he has posted a 100-plus passer rating against the blitz 50 times, with his team posting a 38-12 record. Rodgers is on pace for 4,500 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and three interceptions by season's end.
Aaron Rodgers two primary passing targets have been enjoying enormous productivity this season. Jordy Nelson ranks in the top five in receiving yards and is tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions with 12. His counterpart Randall Cobb has been almost as productive. Cobb has 10 touchdown catches, with eight coming in the red zone. Those red zone scoring plays stand second in the NFL. Nelson and Cobb are the first receiving duo in team history to each catch 10 or more TD passes in the same season.
Quote of the Week**
"This is the last chance, there's no way around it. We've got to go out there and make plays. We've got to be aggressive on every side of the ball—offense, defense and special teams—whatever it takes to win the game, that's what we've got to do. I think everybody knows that."
--WR Sammy Watkins
Stat of the Week
-The Bills are 5-0 all-time at home against the Green Bay Packers.
Milestones in reach
-Preston Brown needs five tackles to become the fourth Bills rookie to record 100 tackles in his rookie season since 1987 (Sam Cowart – 1998, Donte Whitner- 2006, Kiko Alonso-2013).
-Fred Jackson needs 56 receiving yards to set a career high with 443 yards this season.
-Sammy Watkins needs 22 yards to set a Bills rookie record for receiving yards (Lee Evans – 843 – 2004).
The Bills (2nd) and Packers (4th) are both ranked in the top five in takeaways this season. Buffalo has 28 and Green Bay has 24.