Bills-Packers: What To Watch

Charlie Specht takes a look at the Bills - Packers preseason game. Here are some things you need to look for in the game.

Since the signing of Terrell Owens in March, the Bills have been enjoying a piece of the national spotlight in a positive way for the first time since the early 1990s, not counting Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions.

And since the Michael Vick to Buffalo rumors have subsided and seem almost laughable after Vick’s signing with Philly last week, it seems only natural the Bills would follow in the path of football’s most overhyped star.

So it is the Bills have pulled into recent Minnesota signee Brett Favre’s former stomping grounds this week for the third preseason game of their early season. And with Owens sitting this one out, the Bills will be looking to test the kind of hype-free Dick Jauron surely wants this season. The rest of us can refer to these tips to watch for while we’re keeping an eye on T.O.’s tweets:

Bills’ O against the Pack’s 3-4. Green Bay is trying out its new 3-4 defense, and the Bills will get another chance to test out their newfangled no-huddle attack against the primary defense of their division foes. One has to imagine the offense was designed to attack the defensive scheme that gave Buffalo its biggest troubles in 2008 and nearly led the Bills to go winless in the always-competitive AFC East. Trent Edwards looks to fine-tune his playcalling while avoiding the sacks that were “on me” in the Bills’ win over Chicago last week. Green Bay had three in its win over Cleveland last week. Also look for backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to continue to shine.

Picks and the Pack. Both teams scorched the competition with four interceptions in their last preseason game, and the Bills have six on the preseason. Will the Bills be able to keep up their feverish pace against Green Bay signal-caller Aaron Rodgers, who was 5-10 for 102 yards and one TD against the Browns? Will the Pack’s starters be able to decipher the no-huddle and turn those into picks? The answer will probably lie with the winner.

Defensive Endgame. With Friday’s signing of first round draft pick Aaron Maybin, the competition at the defensive end slot officially ramps up. This will be the last shining opportunity for rep-machine Chris Ellis to cement in the coaches’ minds that the progress he’s made in Maybin’s absence this offseason and training camp should result in more playing time. Keep an eye on Aaron Schobel, who some think is officially over the hill. You can bet he’ll be rushing to prove them wrong.

Fight Club. Will the trademark feistiness that Dick Jauron downplayed after the dust-up between Dominic Rhodes and Chris Kelsay translate onto the field. Bills fans sure hope so, because patience without aggression will be the road to another 7-9 record this season.

A-line O-line. A major barometer on the success of the no-huddle attack, and the Bills’ season, will be the performance of its young offensive line. Rookie Eric Wood has been turning heads in practice against Marcus Stroud. The Bills will need that kind of protection for Edwards to see any success this season. Also look for rookie TE Shawn Nelson to continue to improve. After shaking a case of early-camp dropsies, Nelson grabbed a TD last week in the Bills’ 27-20 win over Chicago. Look for the rookie’s competition with more experienced vets Derek Schouman and Derek Fine.

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