Steffen: The Vegas oddsmakers have the Green Bay Packers favored by how much again? 13.5 points? There are plenty of folks out there who’d tell you that isn’t nearly enough.
Don’t count me among them. Like last week, this game will be much closer than it needs to be.
Obviously, the biggest question mark for Green Bay is how the offense will respond without running back Ryan Grant, who was lost for the season.
In my opinion, the offense has the potential to be more dynamic and versatile with Brandon Jackson as the featured back. He hasn’t shown the same hard-nosed running ability that made Grant one of the top rushers in the league, but he is shiftier and more mobile.
More importantly, Jackson is a superior pass blocker and a better receiver than Grant. The Buffalo Bills’ defense will be a good defense to get Jackson warmed up and fully integrated into the offense.
Miami didn’t exactly torch the Bills last week, but I expect the Packers offense to bounce back against a weak Bills defense after a somewhat disappointing performance against the Eagles.
So how will the Bills make this game interesting?
C.J. Spiller vs. A.J. Hawk.
Last week, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick exposed one of the few weaknesses in the Packers’ defense: Pursuit, especially on the outside, in open space.
Now the Packers will be adding gasoline to the fire, in the form of A.J. Hawk.
Hawk didn’t play at all last week because he isn’t good enough in coverage to play in the team’s nickel defense, which the Packers were forced to employ all day because of the Eagle’s three-plus receiver sets.
The Bills won’t be running the same formations, so Hawk is expected to see an increase in playing time in the Packers’ base 3-4. Look for the Bills to do whatever they can to get Spiller matched up on Hawk early and often. They will try to get him around the edge and in the flat, to take advantage of his open field running ability. Lots of pitch outs, screen passes, bubble screens and quick three-step drops for the oft sacked Trent Edwards.
One way or another, this will be a big game for Hawk — either to showcase his skills for a trade or to show Green Bay management he actually belongs.
Spiller had an awful game in week one, but make no mistake about it, he is a future star in this league. On Sunday, he will turn heads with a few big plays.
Unfortunately for the Bills, it won’t be enough to keep up with Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley.
Packers 35, Bills 24
Sarah: Things will get easier for the Packers in week two in their home opener against the lowly Buffalo Bills.
Even though the Bills were thought to have one of the better running games in the league with Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch and rookie C.J. Spiller in the backfield, the Bills running game was disappointing against the Dolphins in week one, when they totaled only 50 yards.
Charles Woodson and the Packers’ defense will dominate from the start against struggling Bills quarterback Trent Edwards, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense are sure to put up some astronomical numbers, even without Ryan Grant.
This should be a no-brainer. Let’s just hope the Packers can steer clear of anymore costly injuries.
Packers 31, Bills 16
Brady: This will be the perfect “get right” kind of game the Packers need before traveling to division rival Chicago, next week.
The Buffalo Bills are a team that does some things right, like special teams, but fail in a lot of areas. Today’s NFL is all about the quarterback and the Bills are still searching for their replacement for Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. While Trent Edwards career started with promise, he’s looked like a shell of his former self since battling concussions and a lot of that has to do with the Bills poor play on the offensive line.
To make matters worse for Buffalo, their star defensive player Paul Posluszny will miss a couple games with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Packers got off to a rocky start on offense yet still found a way to score 27 points to hold off a late charge by animal enthusiast Michael Vick in week one.
Clay Matthews was a force for the entire game and B.J Raji may of had his best game as a pro. They will have similar success against a sub-par Bills team.
It will be interesting to see how Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn fill the shoes of Ryan Grant in the running game and they will receive plenty of opportunities as the Packers get a lead early and salt away the clock.
Unless the Bills get a fluke big play, it’s hard to see them finding the end zone.
Packers 30, Bills 6