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Preview: Bills at Green Bay Packers

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I'm coming into this game with a very low opinion of the Buffalo Bills offense. I watched them last week at their worst: the final 2 minutes of their game against the Miami Dolphins (as I waited for the Green Bay Packers game to start). They needed a FG to tie with under 2 minutes remaining and they had two possessions. The first one generated -1 yard on 4 plays (they took a safety since they were pinned down at the goal line), and the second one netted for 4 yards on 4 plays. That is certainly a small sample size, but the Bills only managed one drive longer than 30 yards last week. 

Here are the official rankings from NFL.com after Week 1:

Team Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 8 19 30 16
Team Run Defense Pass Defense Run Offense Pass Offense
   Bills     24 11 28 29

Packers run offense vs. Bills run defense. The Packers run offense had the best ranking, but 45 of their 132 yards came from the one guy who won't play again this season: RB Ryan Grant. On the other hand, the Bills run defense didn't shine against the Dolphins and they're replacing injured inside LB Paul Posluszny with former safety Keith Ellison. Also, the Bills have jumped on the 3-4 bandwagon this season, and their defense is certainly still in the midst of some growing pains. The Packers should be able to run against the Bills, but their offense is all about getting QB Aaron Rodgers back on track after what he called a "terrible" game

Packers pass offense vs. Bills pass defense. The Bills secondary is the strength of their team. Starting CB Leodis McKelvin is back after missing nearly the entire 2009 season. 2009 rookie of the year runner-up FS Jairus Byrd is playing, but he was limited to nickel and dime packages while he recovers from groin surgery. They recorded 3 sacks last week, but despite LT Chad Clifton's troubles last week, they don't have a pass rusher like DE Trent ColeBuffalo Rumblings pointed out the Packers struggles last week, but all the bad news happened in the 1st quarter as Clifton and RT Mark Tauscher clearly had some preseason rust to shake off. The Packers will struggle against the Bills secondary if the veteran tackles regress. 

Bills run offense vs. Packers run defense. The NFL's best run defense in 2009 laid an egg last week when QB Michael Vick ran wild on scrambles. They also admitted they didn't game plan for Vick as the starting QB either. Their top draft choice, RB C.J. Spiller, is a talent, but he didn't show it in his week 1 performance of 7 carries for 6 yards against the Dolphins. The Bills offensive line is still "developing", and didn't play well (especially their offensive tackles) last week. The 2009 run defense will return next week unless the Bills have Vick hidden somewhere on their bench.

Bills pass defense vs. Packers pass defense. The Packers pass defense had an up-and-down day as CB Charles Woodson played on his bad toe and shut down WR DeSean Jackson, while nickel back CB Sam Shields looked like the undrafted rookie that he is on the touchdown pass to WR Jeremy Maclin. With Woodson almost certain to play and limit WR Lee Evans, the Bills will have to count on their No. 2 WR Steve Johnson (15 career receptions) or WR Roscoe Parrish to get open against Shields or CB Tramon Williams

It's hard to see the Bills winning with their offense. It wasn't good in 2009, and it opened the 2010 season with only 166 total yards of offense, at home, against a lesser defense. Meanwhile the Packers scored 27 points on the road against a defense that's probably better than the Bills. Packers 27, Bills 7.