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Preview and Prediction for Bills-Packers

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Preview and Prediction for Bills-Packers

The Green Bay Packers will be looking to get off to a better start than they have through the first three weeks of the 2018 NFL season when they welcome the Buffalo Bills to Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Bills are coming off their shocking victory over the Minnesota Vikings where they became only the fifth NFL team since 1990 to win facing a point spread of 15 points or more. (The Vikings were favored by 16.5) After two weeks of inept quarterback play, the Bills went to their first round rookie QB Josh Allen and the kid provided the spark they needed on offense.

The real story of the Bills win in Minnesota, however, were the early turnovers the defense was able to produce which gave the ball to the offense in advantageous field position. Once Buffalo had a commanding lead, their defensive front was able to pin its ears back and make life miserable for the Vikings offense.

The Packers have started slowly on offense three weeks in a row. The hope is they finally jump out to an early lead and keep their entire offensive game plan available to them rather than having to junk things because they need to get into comeback mode.

WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL:

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll did a great job helping his young quarterback get into a rhythm last week in Minnesota. He also did a great job dialing up a play that ended up going for a touchdown that took advantage of the fact that his offense had spent the first part of the game giving Allen short, safe throws. The Vikings started jumping the short stuff, thinking they were starting to get a read on the limitations of the rookie quarterback.

Then this happened.

Allen has a cannon for an arm. One could reasonably expect an offensive coach to be tempted to have him come out gunning it downfield. Daboll was smart with his restraint throughout much of last week’s game.

The Bills offensive line is a bit like the Island of Misfit Toys, in that most of them are castoffs from other teams, but they played well together within the offense last week. One matchup I’ll be interested in seeing is Reggie Gilbert, who could see more snaps due to Nick Perry’s lingering concussion, versus Buffalo’s right tackle, Jordan Mills. Gilbert has the kind of bend around the edge that can give Mills trouble.

In the backfield, dangerous running back LeSean McCoy will reportedly return for the Bills after missing last week’s game in Minnesota. He’s the kind of athlete that always gives the Packers trouble, and I don’t expect Sunday to be much different. Chris Ivory was productive in his absence and the two backs present a nice one-two punch. The Packers defensive front will have its hands full.

On the perimeter, I think the Packers actually match up pretty well. I’d expect Tramon Williams to be up against Kelvin Benjamin for much of the afternoon and Kevin King, if he plays through the groin injury that has him listed as Questionable on the injury report, to match up with Zay Jones. I think both of those favor the Packers.

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL:

The big development here is Randall Cobb’s hamstring injury, which he apparently sustained during Wednesday’s practice. Cobb is listed as Questionable, but was downgraded from Limited to Did Not Participate on the injury report. Throw in Mike McCarthy sounding less than hopeful about Cobb’s participation when asked about him on Friday morning and all signs point to Cobb being sat down against the Bills.

What does this mean for the offense? McCarthy could go a number of different ways, from giving more snaps to rookie receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has seen a handful of snaps the last few weeks, on the perimeter and moving Davante Adams into the slot the way they used to with Jordy Nelson.

McCarthy could also look to get his stable of tight ends onto the field more, which would force Buffalo to stay in base personnel. With the flexibility Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks offer, this would be a good way to get one of them matched up on a linebacker in the slot.

Yet another way McCarthy could adjust would be to utilize Ty Montgomery as a straight up replacement for Cobb. Montgomery has the skills necessary to feature in the slot and can obviously handle the handful of looks in the backfield that Cobb sees nearly every game.

Of course, it’s quite possible the Packers end up using a bit of each of these when replacing Cobb.

The bigger concern this week is getting off to a better start on offense and staying out of the 3rd and long situations that have plagued this offense over the first three weeks of the season.

Earlier this week, both McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers mentioned facing way too many 3rd and 10+ situations. Negative plays on first down in particular have been a bugaboo. One easy way to combat this? Give Aaron Jones the damn ball. Even when things are seemingly shut down up front, Jones has a great ability to find space to pick up yardage. He’s also a positive play waiting to happen.

One big concern this week is at right guard. Byron Bell will most likely get the start for Justin McCray. I’d expect to see an old McCarthy wrinkle with a tight end lined up behind Bell on some passing downs to try and beef up interior protection.

The Bills defense is riding high off their performance in Minnesota, but they are still a vulnerable unit. They have allowed 28 points per game through three weeks, not to mention a league-high 74.2% completion rate. If the Packers can keep Rodgers upright, they should be able to move the ball in chunks.

PREDICTION:

The Packers haven’t come close to playing a full game yet this season, and I don’t expect one to magically materialize on Sunday. I do think the matchup favors the Packers. Josh Allen is an exciting young quarterback who could go on to do big things in the NFL. But on Sunday, at Lambeau Field, he’ll have a front row to the Aaron Rodgers Show.

Packers: 30

Bills: 21

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Michael Micholic's picture

Look... I don't want Cobb to be out. He has proven his worth over and over again. That said, situations like this are when McCarthy is forced to mix things up and be creative. Maybe we get more looks for Graham, Lewis, and the young WR. Maybe... just MAYBE... we see 88 back in the slot. It is moments like this in a season where we find new things that can mix things up moving forward.

pacman's picture

You would hope Packers get creative but I expect a conservative game plan from MM because that is who he is and always falls back to.

Packers win if AR plays well and receivers catch the football.

PackerAaron's picture

That's a really fair point, Michael.

EdsLaces's picture

The idea of 17 in the slot is fine by me..

Grandfathered's picture

I'm surprised that the three options mentio ned for replacing Cobb in the slot are (1) Adams to the slot and more MVS on perimeter; (2) more TE work; and (3) Montgomery in the sklot. It would seem to me the first thought is to move MVS, Moore or St Brown in slot.

PackerAaron's picture

Moore and St Brown have barely been active this year. Don't think Moore has been active once, actually. Would be a surprise to see them jump into significant playing time.

Tundraboy's picture

This game. Shocked would be more like it.

Lare's picture

If the Packers play the way they have the last few weeks, they'll get beat 34-24.

If they shake things up a bit on play-calling and put some players in to replace under-performers they'll win 37-34.

The Packers are pretty much at or below average in almost every offensive and defensive statistical category thus far this season. That has to change if they're going to be a legitimate playoff contender this season.

Nick Perry's picture

Gone are the days the Packers #3 or #4 wide receivers are better than most teams #1 or #2. I KNOW without a doubt I'm a "Homer" and will definitely paint a rosier picture of the Packers, especially before the regular season starts. Just like I did this year.

BUT I'm actually a bit concerned about this team offensively. When you honestly LOOK at the Packers WR's and TE who really scares you other than Adams. I thought Graham would, especially when they added Lewis to the mix and Montgomery was/is healthy, but because NOTHING has changed in the Packers offensive scheme for the most part I don't think anyone fears the Packers anymore. Personally I think a HC like McVay or an OC like Deflippo would have this offense humming. But their not and I'm not so sure they can.

A few observations that might help...USE Montgomery and Lewis more, especially if it keeps Kendricks off the field. MOVE Montgomery around..ALL AROUND. A HC or OC with a clue about the NFL of 2018 would have a field day with Montgomery's versatility.

Rodgers NEEDS to recognize his offenses strengths and weaknesses. The O-Line is a weakness Rodgers. THROW the damn ball and quit holding onto it!

THROW the ball to the "Twin Towers" (Graham & Lewis) in the Red Zone. The Packers rank 29th in the Red Zone...29th!!!!

USE Aaron Jones this week and every week moving forward. If you have a RB who averages 7 YPC don't stop using him. Get him involved and keep him involved. If your concerned about pass protection refer to my 2nd point...THROW the ball and stop holding it!

Lastly...STOP deferring to the 2nd half. The defense has allowed the opponent to score on their opening drive every week. Lets try taking the kickoff to start the game and use a few suggestions like mine or the dozens upon dozens my friends here at CHTV have made.

Tarynfor12's picture

The Packers is the person who has a tool box full of tools but he doesn't know how to use them.

The Packers is the person that knows how to use tools but doesn't have the right one's in his tool box.

The Packers is the person that cons people into thinking he has tools and can use any of the correctly.

The Packers are just an old ad offering an old style service that keep people questioning whether they're still in business or viable if they are.

Turophile's picture

I always liked deferring. I still do. The Packers just have to do a better job stopping the opposition.

Whether you get the ball first, or the opposition does, their first drive can be harder to stop, because the early scripted plays are known by the players, so things work more seamlessly.

cheesycowboy's picture

Both teams have been up and down. The Bills have gotten better each game. The Packers have been stagnant each game. 2-1 with an ascending arrow looks better than 1-1-1 and no arrow. The Pack are fortunate it's not 0-3 and Bears 3-0.
Headed to the quarter pole in a bunch and the track is muddy.

Oppy's picture

It's all perspective and what-ifs. It could just as easily be said that the Bears are lucky they aren't 1-2, the vikings 1-3, and the Packers 2-1.

Nothing matters besides what is officially recorded.

Agreed that as it stands right now, it's anybody's race to win. Actually, based purely on play with zero projection about what teams could do going forward.. The Bears are playing the most balanced football right now.

Tarynfor12's picture

" The Bears are playing the most balanced football right now."

Must be that ' pad level ' thing MM always talks about being the missing ingredient or flaw the Bears figured out.

Oppy's picture

What is the point of this comment?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It is pretty early still to cite stats. Still, here they are:
Off: 1. GB (14th) 23.3; 2. MN (16th) 22.5; 3. CHI (19th) 21.0
Def: 1. CHI (8th) 18.3; 2.MN (22nd) 27.5; 3. GB (23rd) 27.7

Det: Tie for 14th at 23.3 on offense, and 26th at 29.3 on defense.

CHI AVE: 8th/19th = 13.5
GB AVE: 14th/23rd = 18.5
MN AVE: 16th/22nd = 19
DET AVE: 14th/26th = 20.

Yup, Chicago looks the most balanced right now.

Bert's picture

I really don't think the Bills are very good. Even though the Packers haven't played well I see a fairly easy win. 30-13. BUT. After the fairly easy win let's not get too giddy and keep it in perspective. It is Buffalo after all.

Stevan Atanasoff's picture

Much play a lot better this week. I expect we will.

jh9's picture

The Packers have been disappointing so far this season.

Although I don't know what the score will be, I expect them to get two interceptions and win this game.

4thand1's picture

It would be great to see a good ol fanshioned ass kicking. I honestly don't know what to expect. AR actually practiced, a good sign that maybe they can start a little faster?

Samson's picture

This didn't look like a key game going into the season but .... the Pack haven't defined themselves even a little.
What are they good at?... I have no idea.

If they come out flat against an inferior team such as the Bills (at home), then 1-1-1 could be the high point of this season.

However, the Bills have a rookie at QB. --- It'll be a learning experience for him. --- Pack should win big.

porupack's picture

The defense showed no sign of taking control of the LOS, even vikings decade long weak Oline, and really have not posed any real strategy altering experience for opposing offenses. Packers defense have shown no ability to set the tone for the game of which the refs didn't consider was unfootball. Thus, bills will have a day of season highlights.
Packers Oline is not able to set the tone, and control the LOS, and that is where all of the Offense problems begin. Only way GBP can overcome this recurring weakness is creativity/ scheme mismatches. But so far, they have been underwhelming and poorly executed if even they are tried and there seem to be a comedy of errors on offense to produce such a dud for 3 games now.
Packers showed little so far, so I predict (and am braced for) a bills win. Hate to be sayin it.

Tarynfor12's picture

Would not be surprised to hear the ' boo birds ' early in this game and many outright sobbing. I'll hold hope for a close win that still offers severe head shaking as to over all play.
24-23 Packers with Buf missing a long FG for the win.

stockholder's picture

If MM wants to stop the Boo Birds. 1. Start Jones 2. Monty goes in on third downs. 3. Both Graham and Mercedes Lewis play 3rd downs. 4. Start a Rookie Wr. to spread the field. 5. CMIII starts at ILB. and then moves outside.

Tarynfor12's picture

You so funny !!!

Skip greenBayless's picture

Alot of my prediction is based on Kevin King playing. I really feel he's THAT important to winning.

With Kevin King:

Green Bay 28 - Buffalo 17

Without Kevin King:

Buffalo - 34

Green Bay 31

Lphill's picture

Bills are hyped up to play Packers and Rodgers at Lambeau they have nothing to lose , Packers are trying to find out who they are , as long as MM calling the plays I don't think the Packers will win.

Since '61's picture

Since Rodgers calls the plays the Packers should win according to your misinformed theory. Thanks, Since ‘61

Since '61's picture

Packers 33 - 19. Thanks, Since ‘61

Since '61's picture

Packers win 33-19. Thanks, Since ‘61

Tundraboy's picture

I have no clue or any idea what to expect from this team for this game, or the slightest idea what MM will do this week. But if this game is played and managed anything like the last 3, Refs aside, we lose.

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