Matching Up: Bills Offense vs. Packers Defense

09/29/2018
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After looking at how the Bills’ defense will match up versus the Packers’ offense, it’s time to look at the opposite. Buffalo’s offense finally played a good game against Minnesota last week, opening the game with a touchdown drive and capitalizing on great field position given to them by the team’s defense. Next Sunday, they’re going to face a supposedly worse group than the Vikings’ one. How will the Bills’ O will match up against them? Here are my thoughts:

Ground game

The Packers’ defense is struggling to stop the run this season, ranking 27th overall in the league in this department so far. Last week, the Redskins’ veteran running back, Adrian Peterson, gashed the unit for 120 yards on 19 carries. He scored two TDs and was a nightmare with his physical running style.

LeSean McCoy is a different type of runner, but this could be the game he starts to produce like his usual self. Chris Ivory was a solid replacement last week, rushing for 56 yards on 20 carries. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep the offense away from 3rd-and-long situations. He will be important again with his physical playstyle.

The Packers will need to pay attention to Josh Allen‘s ability to run the ball, too, after the rookie QB’s mesmerizing dual-threat performance against Minnesota, rushing for 39 yards and two scores. This should help the running backs even more.

The Bills’ offensive line did a solid job against the likes of Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson last week. The Packers will be without former Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who is injured and out for the remainder of the season. He was always a problem for the Bills, and his absence should facilitate things for the team’s OL. Green Bay’s other DE, Mike Daniels, is a capable run stopper but not enough to single-handedly shut down the Bills’ rushing attack. I’m confident the Bills will be able to at least repeat what they did on the ground versus the Vikings.

Advantage: Bills

Passing game

Here’s where the Packers’ D can cause problems for Buffalo. Their secondary is a talented group led by the veteran CB Tramon Williams and the former first-round pick, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who is responsible for the only two INTs the Packers have this season. The young CBs, Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, and Josh Jackson have the talent to give problems to the suspect Bills’ WRs. Standing at 6’3″, King has enough size to match up well versus Kelvin Benjamin, for example. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers shut down the Bills’ WRs in this game.

Green Bay’s pass rush hasn’t been very successful in 2018, producing just six sacks so far. Clay Matthews isn’t the threat he was in the past, and the team needs to dial up a lot of blitzes to pressure opposing QBs. The Bills’ offensive line is doing better than expected at protecting Allen, and the rookie QB is getting rid of the ball faster lately.

If Buffalo’s offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, can continue to find ways to help his young signal-caller and the TEs can explore mismatches versus the linebackers, then Allen will be able to play another good game away from home. On the other hand, playing at Lambeau Field against a talented secondary may be a big hurdle for the rookie, especially with Green Bay’s DC, Mike Pettine, being smart enough to make some adjustments to slow down the still raw QB. It’ll be an interesting challenge for Allen.

Advantage: Packers

Overall

It’s going to be a very good battle. The Bills’ running game will likely be what determines the team’s chances of success. If Buffalo can run the ball efficiently, then it will open up play action opportunities, one of the areas in which Allen was able to find most success last week.

This might be the key to the Bills’ aerial-attack finding some consistency against a good secondary. I’m confident in the Bills’ chances in this game, after a very good performance last week.

Advantage: Bills

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