Key Matchups: Packers vs. Bills-Defending Lambeau from the Bills Mafia

The only thing that the Packers can do to erase any and all memories from the Beltway Beatdown in Washington, is to have a good week of practice, correct their mistakes, and play a complete sixty minute game against the Bills this Sunday.  This Sunday’s contest at Lambeau Field against the Bills was a game that everyone looked at as an easy layup and a sure victory for the Packers....until the Bills pulled off the greatest statistical upset in the last 24 years and defeated the Vikings in Minnesota by a score of 27-6.  

The Bills blowout victory over the Vikings, coupled with the Packers putrid performance on Sunday against the Redskins, along with, everyone losing their survivor pools because of the Vikings historic loss has caused a quiet sense of panic to set in throughout Packer Nation. The seed of doubt has been planted and some Packer fans are silently wondering whether the Bills could actually pull off massive upsets on the road in the NFC North two weekends in a row.  In a world where a sports writers opinions are judged, retweeted, and screenshotted to remind them of an accurate prediction or a brutal defeat, I still will confidently state for the record that I believe the Bills win in Minnesota was a fluky performance and that I expect the Packers to coast to a two-score victory.  

This should not be considered a bold prediction.  By the numbers, the Bills are deficient in many areas and have earned their reputation as one of the worst teams in football.  Every year there are upsets in the NFL for which there is simply not an explanation.  The Bills win last Sunday over the Vikings is a classic example of one of these unexplained upsets that leave everyone's head spinning.   

There are many favorable key matchups that I believe that the Packers will exploit against the Bills on Sunday which will lead them to a convincing victory, but before I delve into those, I believe that the Packers have a psychological advantage that they will use to start the game in the right frame of mind.  The Packers were given a jarring reminder this past week, of what can happen on any given Sunday when they saw the Vikings brutal defeat.  They know that if they duplicate last week's performance against the Redskins, they could face a similar outcome against the Bills.  Simply put, the Packers will not overlook the Bills and will put forth their best effort on Sunday. (If they do not rest assured it will get ugly and contentious in Packer Land)

Here are just a few of the matchups that have me so bullish about the Packers coming out of Sunday's contest with a two score victory:

1. The Packers front seven making the Bills offensive attack one dimensional: 

Despite the season-ending injury to Muhammad Wilkerson, the Packers still feature two of the NFL's most dominant front line players in Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels.  With Dean Lowry’s solid contributions and Montravius Adams hopefully coming into his own, the Packers certainly have quite a formidable rotation that is capable of creating penetration on opposing teams offensive lines and stopping their running games.  The Bills come into Sunday's contest as one of the lower graded run blocking offensive lines in the NFL.  According to pro football focus elite, their primary offensive lineman's run blocking average grade is a 50.62 and none of their linemen have a run blocking grade higher than a 57.2.  

This can be a signal of disaster for a rookie quarterback on the road when it is the visiting team's sole task on offense to control the tempo of the game and quiet the home crowd by establishing the run early to take pressure off of him.  I could see Josh Allen being forced to throw the ball more than the game plan originally dictated which will expose him to many exotic looks that he is not accustomed to seeing which could force him into making poor decisions with the football throughout the game.  

2. The Bills lack of explosive skill playmakers vs. The Packers young playmaking secondary: 

The Packers front seven making the Bills a one-dimensional passing attack, sends a ripple effect to the Packers secondary, as it will allow them to expose a below average unit of Bills wide receivers.  According to pro football focus elite, the Bills do not have a true wide receiver that has above a 59.4 receiving grade.  In fact, Chris Ivory, a running back is the Bills highest graded wide receiver which will make it more of a challenge for the Bills passing attack to move the ball down the field.  To add insult to injury, highly touted wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who the Bills expected great things from, has been a bitter disappointment for the team thus far.  He has failed to develop into the true number 1 receiver that the Bills expected him to be, and to this point in the season, has a receiving grade of 52.5.  

I could once again see the Packers using five and six defensive back sets to blanket the Bills receiving core which will force Josh Allen to fit passes into tight coverage.  I see the Packers secondary making an impact in the game, causing multiple turnovers from Josh Allen which will lead to more scoring opportunities for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. 

3. Aaron Rodgers vs Philip Gaines, Ryan Lewis, and Rafael Bush

I look for Aaron Rodgers to attempt to isolate Philip Gaines, Ryan Lewis, and Rafael Bush in one on one coverage against Randall Cobb (If active), Geronimo Allison, and Jimmy Graham.  According to pro football focus elite, Philip Gaines is the weak link in the Bills secondary and Rodgers will likely look to pick on him whenever he is on the field.  He grades out at a 60.5 overall with a 49.8 grade in tackling and a 52.7 in coverage.  The Bills will in all likelihood give Gaines some help over the top or play primarily zone coverage which should still open up some soft spots in the secondary's coverage for Rodgers to exploit.  I look for Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb, and Geronimo Allison to have big games and I think Davante Adams will be used in both the slant and quick out games to force Tre’Davious White to make tackles in space (White 52.8 tackling grade from PFF). 

I have made it clear from the start where I stand on this game.  This is a game that the Packers should win and must win handily because they are simply the better team in all three facets of the game.  I expect the defense to clean up the mistakes that they made against the Redskins and I expect the offense to finally find their rhythm and have a much more consistent game moving the ball from start to finish.  I predict that the Packers will win this game by a 34-17 score. 

 

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (30)

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Bearmeat's picture

September 29, 2018 at 11:37 am

Agreed. They should win. But they should have won each of the last 2 weeks too.

Proof is in the pudding. It's time to see it. GPG

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 29, 2018 at 12:17 pm

They should have won the last 2 weeks....then they would have won.

They didn't win either and let's leave the penalty crap out of why.

They simply didn't play good enough to win no matter how you slice it.

There's a good chance they lose Sunday because they don't play good enough to win.
5 years now it's been...shoulda, woulda, coulda and the if only.

How about expecting some consistency to actually play good and win without having to belch out excuse after excuse.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 29, 2018 at 01:32 pm

I'll assume the dislikes mean you want the status quo you've been getting and will be fine as long as you can cry over false excuses...got it and carry on. : )

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Bearmeat's picture

September 29, 2018 at 01:51 pm

No. The dislikes are from you being so disliked.

You call me a homer. I think any objective fan here would tell you that I'm anything but. How many times have I slammed the Packers FA, coaching staff, defensive personnel quality etc...

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:00 pm

So do I ,but it only matters if it's said in a sweet ' if'only ' forgiving way. Which you have apparently mastered to the delight of ' those ' type fans.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:27 pm

Good Lord.

You really have mastered the transition from trolling to martyrdom better than any keyboard warrior I've ever seen.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:46 pm

Sweat and forgiving? I didn't think you even knew such words and in no way would I associate those words with you... We all get it, the Packers blow big fat chunks and in NO WAY according to you did the call on Matthews cost the Packers the game against Minnesota even though the whole entire football world other than those dopes on Park Ave. think so. Sorry but I call HORSE SHI#!!!

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 12:10 pm

"There are many favorable key matchups that I believe that the Packers will exploit against the Bills on Sunday"

That's a pretty bold statement considering Mike McCarthy's "Nothing Changes Offense" and Rodgers still holding the ball to long despite having some problems on the O-Line and McCarthy's refusal to use Marcedes Lewis.

The Packers could run the ball, especially if Bulaga plays and they put Lewis on the right side next to him. Question is does McCarthy send out the guy who averaged 5.5 YPC last season and 7 YPC on Sunday or does he put out the slower, prodding, 3 yards and a cloud of dust guy? Does MM put Kendricks on the field so he can continue his below average play dating back to last year when we signed him? Or does McCarthy actually put the best blocking TE in over 500 snaps from 2017? AND does McCarthy actually start to use some of the revamped playbook which would hopefully use Montgomery in a way that would make Bill Belichek proud?

Sorry but after 3 weeks of WTF during most or at least parts of games, I'm really starting to lose what manufactured faith I had in McCarthy to start the season.

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stockholder's picture

September 29, 2018 at 12:54 pm

3 weeks is not the season. Be patient. 1. Hyde @ SS. Will MM and A-Rod pick on him. I would. If they don't. BAH! This Game is where we have to use the TEs'!!! Kendricks if used: Stays short. 2. Monty.= Shuttle pass and screens stop the DEs. 3. Put Adams in the slot for a few plays! Rookies wide! Spread the field. The packers must execute. Defense will win this game.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 29, 2018 at 07:53 pm

 "Does MM put Kendricks on the field so he can continue his below average play dating back to last year when we signed him? Or does McCarthy actually put the best blocking TE in over 500 snaps from 2017? "

Sadly I think we know the answers to those questions. If I see Kendricks playing at all, I'm going to lose it. I mean what more do we need to know. Guess it will take a fumble for McCarthy to finally bench him.

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henry113's picture

September 29, 2018 at 08:01 pm

Tundra, plan on loosing it. He's as predictable as his play book.

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stockholder's picture

September 29, 2018 at 09:32 pm

Why is A-Rod throwing to him still ? I guess; If you want Free Agents to come to Green Bay. They have to keep putting them out there. NOT all Free Agents can do well in Green Bay. They'll only collect their paycheck. The dropped passes are going to catch up with the packers. Designed plays must be caught.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 12:10 pm

"There are many favorable key matchups that I believe that the Packers will exploit against the Bills on Sunday"

That's a pretty bold statement considering Mike McCarthy's "Nothing Changes Offense" and Rodgers still holding the ball to long despite having some problems on the O-Line and McCarthy's refusal to use Marcedes Lewis.

The Packers could run the ball, especially if Bulaga plays and they put Lewis on the right side next to him. Question is does McCarthy send out the guy who averaged 5.5 YPC last season and 7 YPC on Sunday or does he put out the slower, prodding, 3 yards and a cloud of dust guy? Does MM put Kendricks on the field so he can continue his below average play dating back to last year when we signed him? Or does McCarthy actually put the best blocking TE in over 500 snaps from 2017? AND does McCarthy actually start to use some of the revamped playbook which would hopefully use Montgomery in a way that would make Bill Belichek proud?

Sorry but after 3 weeks of WTF during most or at least parts of games, I'm really starting to lose what manufactured faith I had in McCarthy to start the season.

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Kb999's picture

September 29, 2018 at 01:16 pm

Nick, they need to make a statement and not take the first half off. They need to come out and kick some ass instead of getting their ass kicked. They can't continually play from behind and expect Arod to bail them out at the end. Also, M M clock management sucks.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:49 pm

#3 thumbs up!!!!

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:49 pm

Sorry for the long double post guys!!!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 29, 2018 at 07:54 pm

Nah Needed to be said twice.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 29, 2018 at 01:22 pm

We all gave Montravius Adams a pass for 2017 when he looked terrible because he missed TC. So far in 2018, there is no evidence that the guy can play a lick. Honestly, the only reason I groan loader when Spriggs comes in than when M. Adams comes in is because Adams usually only gets a handful of snaps whereas Spriggs is likely to get dozens. I liked M. Adams as a draft pick (too much talent vs. headcase), but he might need a wake-up call from the coaching staff.

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henry113's picture

September 29, 2018 at 01:39 pm

To The Great one, who is going to give the coaching staff a wake up call? MM needs one.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 29, 2018 at 07:55 pm

Isn't that the truth.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 29, 2018 at 02:51 pm

Whats strange about Adams was he was playing well in TC and the preseason so where is he now? It's time to give the man some snaps and play football. Even though Thompson's picks were bad the last several years for most part I don't think Adams was one of them.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 30, 2018 at 01:45 am

Well, that's a thought. Perhaps M. Adams and Marcedes Lewis need more consistent snaps to settle in and improve.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 29, 2018 at 03:20 pm

I agree with those who are down on M. Adams. He is just a body in there on most of the plays. Almost everyone who is drafted look ok in preseason. And that’s all it was for him. Perhaps he will improve. He is a bit light in the pants for the position he plays. A year or two in the weight room will help. I have yet to see a dominant pass rush from this team. And I don’t expect to. The Bills QB is an unknown to the team and we are prone to get gashed with a running QB. Martinez and Burks as well as whoever is playing safety will have their hands full.

The only way the Packers win this game is if the Bills fear our run game. And I wonder if MM and Rodgers will use it much. The Bills will play cover two and crowd the area around the LOS. This would effect the run game and quick pass. IF our team can find the middle of the field on pass plays then we can move the ball.

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Kb999's picture

September 29, 2018 at 04:05 pm

They should let Rodgers call the plays. I think the chart he has in his hand on the side lines is a diner menu. Ha ha

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Christopher Gennaro's picture

September 29, 2018 at 04:36 pm

Well Rodgers can call all the plays, if remembers a)he is on 1 bad leg and 1 leg that is not a 100" either. B) that there is such a thing as a run game and if used properly it actually benefits him.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 29, 2018 at 05:15 pm

Overall, this has been a strange start for this team. I think the mental part of the game has not caught up with this team yet. Physically, they have not been beat on the field. The danger is that they are thin are critical positions, and with injuries and subpar play, that showed up in the secondary and O-line last week. Frankly, I can't get a read on the players or coaching staff yet, and we are in the middle of a rolling rebuild. Interesting times....

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RobinsonDavis's picture

September 29, 2018 at 07:22 pm

Over confidence and loss of focus at key times did Pack in last week. Let's hope they and the coaching staff do not replicate it again....and maybe the refs stay out of the game, unless they are going to call real holds and not the phantom penalties we have all seen.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 29, 2018 at 07:58 pm

Bill's Mafia?

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PatrickGB's picture

September 29, 2018 at 10:07 pm

My in laws are Bills fans. They don’t think much of their team but do think that the new QB can pull out a win. I also read on a Bills site that our DBs have been burned and post a 103 QB rating against opposing teams. And ranked 21st in defense. I want our team to erase those stats.

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4thand10's picture

September 29, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Chris Ivory is a dangerous running back, he is the only one that scares me. He’s a good strong powerful back who can also catch. I’m concerned that we don’t have enough DL to rotate and 2 on the LOS is not going to be enough. Pettine was using more 3 DL than I’ve seen in the past and it was working , or at least better .But now with Wilkerson gone...do we even have enough DL to do that? Chris Ivory is not the type of running back you wanna see going to the second level. He opens up play action for them

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