Packers’ Keys to Success Against Bills

The Green Bay Packers appear to be in uncharted territory. Riding a three-game losing streak heading into what could be the most hostile territory in the league on “Sunday Night Football,” the Packers are looking for a miracle. Green Bay, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, will be a 10.5-point underdog against the Buffalo Bills, the first time the Packers have been double-digit underdogs in quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ career. With the season in dire need of a spark, here are some Packers’ keys to success against the Bills on Sunday.

Control the Clock

Going into Sunday’s nightcap, the Packers will be facing off against arguably the most prolific offense in the league. With a struggling unit of their own, the Packers will have to find a way to control the clock to keep quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills off the field.

As our own Jared Prugar laid out earlier today, Green Bay is “31st in time of possession” and failed to convert on a single third or fourth down attempt against Washington. That aspect of the game has to be improved. The easiest way to control the clock, outside of converting on third and fourth downs, will be by winning up-front in the run game.

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Most notably, running back Aaron Jones will need to be the X-factor for the Packers’ offense this week. Last week, Jones totaled 76 yards and two scores but only received eight carries. For a player averaging 5.5 yards per carry, the Packers have to get creative in getting him the ball on Sunday.

Execute on Deep Shots

Before I get into this, let it be known, the Packers will have no possibility in winning this game in a shootout. However, the deep passing game, which has been completely non-existent in Green Bay this season, will still need to be utilized efficiently to have some form of success on offense.

To keep the Bills’ defense honest and help free things up in the running game, Rodgers will need to stretch the field in this matchup. Before last week’s loss to the Commanders, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had recorded 8.2 yards per attempt on passes going 20+ yards in the air while ranking 31st with a 27.6% completion rate on deep passes, according to Pro Football Focus.

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Fortunately for the Packers, last week saw the return of Sammy Watkins to the lineup, and rookie Christian Watson returned to practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If the Packers hope to drive the ball downfield on “Sunday Night Football” they’ll need both of their deep playmakers back on the field.

Contain Josh Allen

The biggest challenge the Packers’ defense has been presented with this season has been defending the run. Heading into this matchup against the Bills, the Packers should have little to worry about while facing off against Buffalo’s backfield. Through six games, the Bills three running backs have totaled 444 yards, an average of 74 yards per game.

The real threat in the Bills rushing attack comes from their quarterback. Allen currently leads the team with 257 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns, while ranking third in the league with the most rushing attempts on quarterback scrambles.

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The passing attack alone will be a tough challenge for the Packers, but things could get ugly if they allow Allen to exit the pocket and make plays with his legs. Containment will also need to be a priority inside the 10-yard line, where Allen ranks second in rushing attempts among quarterbacks.

This could shape out to be a true gritty football game on Sunday willing to showcase the team with the strongest heart. It’s still too early to think about “must-win” games for the Packers, but on a national stage against the league’s best, this could be a game that flips the entire season.

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Kole Noble is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in North Carolina and is a huge NFL Draft nut. You can follow him on twitter at @SlawSportsShow.

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