The Buffalo Bills face their second consecutive NFC North opponent on Sunday, traveling to Wisconsin to take on the Green Bay Packers. For the second straight week, the Bills are big underdogs. For the second straight week, the opposing team has far more household names on the roster than the Bills do.
Green Bay is a talented squad that boasts one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. However, he isn’t the only player on the roster worth watching on Sunday. Here are the players wearing navy, gold, and tan to watch on Sunday. (THROWBACKS ARE FUN!)
QB Aaron Rodgers
If the Bills want any chance at victory on Sunday, they’ll have to keep Rodgers in check. A knee injury suffered during Green Bay’s first game of the season hasn’t kept him from succeeding, but it has limited his trademark mobility. Rodgers has completed 66.4% of his passes on the season for 832 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception on the season. He does a phenomenal job of distributing the ball around to all of his weapons, but his offensive line does allow him to be hit. He’s already been sacked 10 times on the year. If Buffalo’s pass rushers can make Rodgers feel their presence, it will increase the team’s chances of a second straight upset.
RB Aaron Jones
Green Bay’s number one running back was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but he returned to action last week against the Washington Redskins. Although he only played on 17 snaps, he carried the ball 6 times for 42 yards and added 1 reception for 5 yards on the day. He is an extremely talented back who totaled 470 scrimmage yards on just 90 touches last season. While he was eased back into the lineup last weekend, head coach Mike McCarthy will probably try to deploy his more dynamic rusher in a greater capacity this weekend.
WR Randall Cobb
The jack-of-all-trades wide receiver may not put up the eye-popping numbers as consistently anymore, but he is still a versatile, dangerous weapon. He can play outside, he can win matchups in the slot, and he can come out of the backfield; he’s even capable of serving as a running back at times. Cobb is second on the Packers in receptions (17), receiving yards (195), and yards per reception (11.5), and given his ability to line up anywhere, he could be used to exploit favorable matchups wherever the Packers see fit. Look for them to try to isolate him on any of a trio of inexperienced players in Tremaine Edmunds, Taron Johnson, and Ryan Lewis this weekend.
LT David Bakhtiari
Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was a one-man wrecking crew last week, as he totaled 15 quarterback pressures all by himself. Bahktiari is the man tasked with slowing Hughes this week, and he will have his hands full. If Green Bay chooses to leave him on an island with Hughes, Buffalo’s top edge rusher should be able to use his superior athleticism to beat the sixth-year tackle around the edge. If they need to give their left tackle help, they risk allowing one of Buffalo’s other defensive linemen (Trent Murphy? Kyle Williams?) to run rampant. Bahktiari will need to win one-on-one against Hughes.
LB Clay Matthews
Speaking of pass rushers who can completely take over a game, the Packers’ veteran linebacker is still among the league’s best sack masters. While much of the focus on Matthews so far has been on two dubious roughing the passer calls, he is still a force to be reckoned with defensively. He’s off to a slow start this season, totaling only 4 tackles and 0 sacks (thanks to the aforementioned penalties), but a failure to account for Matthews will surely lead to a long day for Josh Allen. The Bills will have to keep Matthews in check on Sunday.