The Buffalo Bills shocked the world on Sunday, going into U.S. Bank Stadium and demolishing the Minnesota Vikings. People are still trying to figure out how it happened. Trap game? Overconfident? How could the hopeless 0-2 Bills go into a Super Bowl contender’s house and dominate the game the way they did? No one knows what to make of this team going forward.
On to week 4 and another daunting road trip, this time they really are headed to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers. Which Bills team will show up this week? Las Vegas seems to think week 3 was an anomaly with the Bills opening up as ten point underdogs against the Packers, who will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss in Washington DC.
The Packers are also a team in search of their identity after opening up their season with a record of 1-1-1. For the most part, their identity is Aaron Rodgers. Even though he’s banged up with a leg injury, as long as he’s hobbling around in the pocket, the Packers are in playoff contention.
Now it’s easy to say ” Just do what they did against the Vikings” but what worries me most about Rodgers is he is the best quarterback in the game at improvising. Teams can never fully game plan for Rodgers because his instincts are second to none. A play could be virtually dead and he can make something happen to change the outcome of a game.
Rodgers also elevates his receivers to a much higher level. After losing Jordy Nelson via free agency, Geronimo Allison is the latest receiver to elevate his way up the depth chart to lead the Packers in receiving yards. With Devonte Adams and Randall Cobb closely following Allison in yardage (209, 204,195 respectively), Rodgers is evenly distributing the ball to his receivers. The Bills also can’t forget about newly acquired tight end Jimmy Graham (148 receiving yards), who is also also seeing his fare share of targets.
The Packers have also shown a little more commitment to running the ball, averaging just under 90 yards a game. It’s still no secret that the offense lives and dies by Rodgers. A less mobile Rodgers may give the Bills a chance to replicate the pressure they put on Kirk Cousins. Another fierce pass rush is much needed with all those weapons at the disposal of a quarterback who can carve up the best defenses with surgical precision.
On the other side of the ball, there should be some opportunities for the Bills offense to keep the momentum of week 3 going, as the Packers defense is giving up roughly 27 points per game. After a jaw dropping performance by Josh Allen both through the air and on the ground, could he possibly duplicate Sunday?
Or, will it turn into the rookie performance critics have been predicting since draft talk started. Brian Daboll called a nearly flawless game plan against the Vikings. but as more film becomes available he will have to keep things creative to put his young quarterback in comfortable positions. Make no mistake, Allen played a great game on Sunday but each week could prove to be more difficult when teams will be able to game plan more.
Allen could look across the field for pointers on the improvisational skills he has already shown flashes of in his own career. He will also have to continue to show that mental toughness he has shown so far, as he now has the weight of a franchise on his shoulders.
The Bills will look to finally get the running game going against a Packers defense that gave up 120 yards and two touchdowns to 33 year-old Adrian Peterson. They showed some brief flashes of running the ball against the Vikings, but the most impressive runs were by Josh Allen leaving the pocket.
The Bills hope to get LeSean McCoy back, day to day with a rib injury. If not, there is still opportunity for Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy to get more involved in the game plan. They took advantage of some short field drive starts against the Vikings, but the Bills will look to establish some kind of running game to help their young quarterback.
So which team will show up at Lambeau Field? The team that got pushed all over the field in the first six quarters? Or will it be the team that had enough of the jokes and lit a fire under themselves to literally hush and humble the crowd in Minnesota?
Editor’s babble: So happy to have Erik Smeal contributing to our blog. You can follow Erik on Twitter @Buffwagon819. Go Bills and #UBhornsUP this weekend!