Friday, December 12, 2014
NFL Preview: The Green Bay Packers Vs. The Buffalo Bills
Sunday, the Green Bay Packers travel to the east coast to pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills in a pivotal match. The Packers need a win to stay ahead in the NFC North, and keep pace with the Arizona Cardinals for the number one seed in the NFC. The Packers have looked like the best team in the NFL, and have been the class of the NFC since October. But all of that could be undone with one loss in a tight race. If the Packers want a win on Sunday they're going to have to focus on three major things that could control the outcome.
1. Stop The Run:
It's not hard to realize that the Bills game plan will be to keep the ball away from Aaron Rodgers and co. How will they play keep away? By running the ball of course. It's no secret the Packers main weakness on defense is stopping the run. Bills running-back Fred Jackson could be one of the most underrated backs in the last five years. He has missed some time due to injury this year, but still poses a threat to the Packers defense. Jackson is an all-purpose back who can catch and run with the ball. He is the type of back the Packers have trouble with. The defense will need to work on their tackling, which has been the achilles heel so far this year. The secondary will have to step their game up as well.
2. Shut Down Sammy Watkins:
The whole Packers secondary with embarrassed by Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones last week. Jones did most of his damage in the second half, but burnt the Packers for 259 yards. That is the most this young secondary has ever given up. Jones is an elite receiver no doubt, but it just seemed way to easy the way he was ripping apart the secondary. Everyone gets the blame between Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett, and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix. This week doesn't get any easier with rookie sensation Sammy Watkins lining up for the Bills. Watkins is a possession receiver who also possesses top flight speed, and is a threat to run after the catch. Sam Shields will most likely be assigned to Watkins, because I don't think Williams possesses the ability to stop Watkins. Capers will need to make sure there is safety help over the top. That was missing when Jones was running wild. Shields will have to redeem himself from last week so I look forward to him having a solid game. The offense will have to do their part too.
3. Keep Running The Ball:
Last week the Packers controlled the game with a balanced run game. The duo of Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 207 total yard and 3 touchdowns. Lacy is undoubtedly the workhorse of this offense, but he injured his hip towards the end of the Falcons game and isn't 100%. Lacy should be able to play Sunday, but he'll have his carries split with Starks and there's nothing wrong with that. The two headed monster of Lacy and Starks could be a big part of this offense going into the post season. It's important to get the run game in a rhythm these last three games. The Bills have a very stingy rush defense, but the run game will have to take some pressure off Aaron Rodgers.
This game on Sunday could possibly be the toughest test for the Packers in these last three weeks. Going to Buffalo and winning is no easy task. They have one of the better home-field advantages in the NFL. One good sign is that the weather is supposed to in the 40's come Sunday so that bodes well for the Packers explosive offense. If the offensive line can hold up against the Bills talented defensive line then the Packers have a good chance of pulling this one off. In the end I think the Packers win a close hard fought battle, and continue their stride towards the number one seed and a NFC North title.