Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Time: 1:00pm Eastern
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Weather: Low 60s, Partly Cloudy, Chance of Rain 20%
Last Time: 11/5/06 Ralph Wilson Stadium (Bills win 24-10)
All Time: Buffalo Bills lead series 7-3
The Packers and Bills started their 2010 seasons in opposite ways. Green Bay squeaked out a road victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills lost their first game against the division rival Miami Dolphins 15-10. The Packers host the Bills this Sunday at Lambeau Field in their 2010 home opener.
Last week against the Dolphins, the Bills struggled mightily. The Buffalo defense gave up two scores on Miami’s first three drives. The first was a 32-yard field goal, followed by a 1-yard dive by Ronnie Brown to cap off a 65-yard march down the field. On the other side, the Bills offense went three-and-out on two of their first three drives and were held scoreless until a 51-yard Rian Lindell midway through the second quarter.
Following that field goal, the offense continued to struggle, going three-and-out on four of their next five possessions. Despite the ineptness of the offense, the defense managed to hold their own, surrendering only a single field goal in the final three quarters. After finally scoring a touchdown in fourth quarter, the offense wasn’t able to produce any more success. Their final drive began at their own 1 after a brilliant Dolphins punt. They went three-and-out and intentionally surrendered a safety in hopes of regaining the ball. The Dolphins successfully ran out the clock and left the Ralph with a victory.
The Packers had a scare in week one. First off, Aaron Rogers got off to a slow start as he threw an interception on their second possession, which led to an Eagles field goal. Rogers righted the ship though as he would lead the Packers to a touchdown and field goal before halftime. The Green Bay defense knocked out Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb just before the half.
Philadelphia then turned to Michael Vick, who put a spark in the Eagles offense. In just one half of play, Vick put went 16-24 for 175 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for another 103 yards. Rogers was able to hold his own the Packers would get two more touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 32-yard pass from Rogers to Greg Jennings. Even with Vick’s success, the Green Bay defense stood strong. On a 4th and 1 late in the fourth quarter, Vick called his own number and was denied a first down by linebacker Clay Matthews, who had a huge game himself. Green Bay was able to hold on 27-20 for a Week 1 victory on the road.
Last week, the lone highlight was the defense, which is somewhat surprising considering they are still transitioning into the 3-4 scheme. Unfortunately, for the defense, they will be without MLB Paul Posluszny, who suffered a knee injury. The Bills’ talented group of defensive backs should fare well against the Green Bay receivers. Pro Bowl free safety Jairus Byrd will start, completing the Bills’ ball-hawking secondary.
Clay Matthews was unblockable last week. He made seven tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble in the Packers’ 27-20 win. He was also responsible for securing the victory by breaking through the line to take down Michael Vick on a 4th-and-1 keeper. He is no doubt the leader of the defense and looks to have another big day against a young, inexperienced offensive line.
The offense was anemic in week 1, piling up only 166 total yards (50 rushing, 116 passing. However, that includes an 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that ended in a touchdown pass to Roscoe Parrish. That touchdown, along with a second quarter 51-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, was the only points the Bills were able to manage. Gailey is going to have to find more ways to get the most out of the three running backs. Look for more wildcat this week.
Ryan Grant. The Packers are one of those rare teams that really had one feature running back. The upside to that is Grant is a great athlete who has proven to be able to get the job done. The downside is that, if he goes down, there’s unproven backups to fill in. That’s exactly what happened last week in Philadelphia. Grant went down with a torn ligament in his ankle, which landed him on the Packers’ injured reserve list. Grant was a 1,200+ yard running back each of the last two seasons and ran for 11 touchdowns last year.
Trent Edwards (QB)
Bills fans are frustrated with Edwards after his performance against Miami. He was hesitant to throw the ball down the field, often dumping the ball to his running back. He looked very uncomfortable in the pocket, mostly due to all the pressure he was under and how little time he got to throw the ball. He was sacked three times and harassed all game long. But, if you’re going to have a successful passing game, you need to move the ball down the field. It would be nice to see them try a couple home run throws this Sunday.
Brandon Jackson (RB)
Jackson, in his fourth year with the Packers, has big cleats to fill. Jackson’s production has diminished in each of the past three seasons, with picking up 111 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. He is stepping in for a perennial 1,200+ yard back and will be expected to offset Aaron Rogers’ passing game. This could be a make-or-break game for Jackson. Rumors have Green Bay in the market to trade for a running back. But, if he can have a big day against (statistically) one of the worst running defenses in the NFL, he may begin to takeover the starting duties for a while.
Bills Marcus Stroud (DE) vs. Packers Mark Tauscher (T)
In this transition to a 3-4 defense, Stroud has been very flexible in transition to the defensive end position. However, it is uncertain if he is a good fit at the end. There’s no question he was a huge wall as a defensive tackle who was able to plug up running lanes. After only two solo tackles and five assisted tackles last week, he needs to prove that he can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Bills have a plethora of return men. Currently, C.J Spiller has been handling kick returns and Roscoe Parrish has been taking punt returns. Both men have blazing speed and can break a big return after only a couple blocks. Last week, the coverage teams for the Bills were good as well, allowing 27 yards on two kick returns and 9 yards on two punt returns. The Bills have been known over the past few years for their excellent special teams play, but with the departure of six-year special teams coach Bobby April this past offseason, it was uncertain how things would change.
Buffalo 16 – Green Bay 34
This one isn’t going to be pretty for Buffalo. As big of Bills fan as I am, realistically, I don’t see this one going their way.
- Buffalo’s offense is going to struggle, again
- Trent Edwards gets another touchdown pass
- Bills rushing yards again under 100
- Bills’ defense won’t be bad, but they’ll get worn down and eventually broken
- Aaron Rogers throws for three touchdowns an interception
- Brandon Jackson runs for a touchdown
- Packers O-line keeps Rogers upright, gives up only one sack
- Four sacks for Packers defense
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