3 Key Bills/Packers Matchups

No team is hotter right now than the Green Bay Packers. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders behind Aaron Rodgers. However, Green Bay isn't the same team away from Lambeau. In fact, they've been very vulnerable all season on the road. Here are three matchups the Bills must win if they hope to defeat the Packers.

In their final home game of the 2014 season, the Buffalo Bills will face-off with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are 5-0 since their Week 9 bye week. No team in the NFL is hotter than Green Bay right now, but the Packers are a different team on the road. This season, Green Bay is 3-3 on the road and find themselves averaging 22.5 points per game, considerably lower than their PPG average at Lambeau. If the Bills hope to pull off an upset on Sunday, here are three matchups the team must win.

Matchup of the Week: Randall Cobb vs. Nickell Robey

The Packers have a great group of wide receivers. Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams will certainly provide some headaches for the Bills, but the most worrisome matchup is Randall Cobb against Nickell Robey. Cobb plays primarily out of the slot and is one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets. The receiver has caught 69 passes for 980 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Pro Football Focus (Subscription Required) has Cobb as their top ranked wide receiver under their WR Rating category. There will be times where Cobb plays on the outside, but he does most of his damage in the slot.

Buffalo’s slot cornerback, Nickell Robey, will be responsible for slowing Cobb down. The second year corner has had an up and down season, but he’s been playing better football as of late. On the year, he’s allowed 35 receptions on 46 targets for 463 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll arguably have to play his best game of the season against Cobb. Robey does have the advantage of having Jim Schwartz as his defensive coordinator. Schwartz knows the Packers offense well and will adjust his starting unit accordingly. He’ll make sure that Robey is prepared for this battle.

Bills RBs vs. Packers Defense

No run defense is worse than the Packers on the road. Green Bay is allowing 162.33 rush yards per game away from Lambeau. For whatever reason, the Packers run defense is a mess on the road.

I’m sure that the Bills have seen this stat and will have the idea of playing keep away from the Packers. It was certainly a part of their game plan last week and should be any time they’re going against a high-powered offense. The problem with this plan is that no Bills running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game this season. Buffalo will likely have a three-headed attack on Sunday with Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown. The Bills should focus on letting one back handle the load on Sunday to see if that rusher can get into a groove of sorts. Jackson would probably be the back of choice. Even if the Bills spread the ball out among their backs, getting the run game going should be a top priority against the Packers. The Bills will need a balanced attack to defeat the Packers. Asking Kyle Orton to duel with Rodgers would be a grave mistake.                                   

Jerry Hughes vs. David Bakhtiari

The aforementioned Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL. He won’t make many mistakes unless he’s pressured. Buffalo has a terrific front four but their biggest advantage is Jerry Hughes against David Bakhtiari. Green Bay’s left tackle is actually pretty strong in pass protection, but Hughes can give him fits on Sunday. Hughes’ combination of speed, power and athleticism makes him very difficult to block for an entire game. If Hughes can pressure Rodgers, the Bills could force him into some errant passes. This is something the Bills must do on Sunday.

Bakhtiari’s biggest weakness is in run support. Hughes has greatly improved in terms of run defense, so this is another advantage the Bills must exploit. If Hughes can get into Green Bay’s backfield and create a few run stops, it could put the Packers into 3rd and long scenarios. The Bills have been terrific on third down all season, but keeping Rodgers and the Packers from moving the chains won’t be easy. Putting them in long down and distance situations is Buffalo’s best hope. Hughes can play a huge factor in this on Sunday.


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