Bills at Packers: Sal's keys, notes and stats

September 29, 2018

What a turnaround from where things seemed to be headed just one week ago. Not that the Buffalo Bills are suddenly a Super Bowl contender, but the vibe and outlook of the season at least feels different after their improbable victory at the Minnesota Vikings last week. Can they do it again and shock an NFC North team in their own stadium?

Here are three storylines, plus notes and stats, leading up the the game in Green Bay against the Packers:

1.) The return of Shady?!

We don’t know yet if LeSean McCoy is playing in this one or not, but he says he is and, if that’s the case, it would be a huge boost to the Bills’ offense and especially their rookie quarterback Josh Allen. After last week’s game, there were some who wondered if the Bills are better off without their star running back. The answer is “no.” While losing a major weapon and focal point of the offense can force teams to have to be more creative and defenses to stay on their heels a little bit, that’s hard to sustain at a high rate. Eventually, defenses still find tendencies in both the play-calling and personnel and can gameplan for it. McCoy is still the Bills’ best offensive player and playmaker. They are better with him than without him, and if he’s on the field, the defense has to account for him, which could give Allen a little extra time and space to throw the ball.

2.) Allen’s progression

Josh Allen was pretty good last week in Minnesota. Not great, not bad at all. He wasn’t asked to do much, but what he was asked to do he did well, didn’t make critical mistakes, and kept the offense on schedule. Not much more you could ask from a rookie quarterback in his first-ever road start, especially in that type of environment. No doubt he was set up in very nice situations by his defense, but to Allen’s credit, he helped the offense take advantage of that. Now comes the next step. Can Allen be as efficient when things aren’t as simple and the offense needs him to make plays because they are down or in a tight game? Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will test him for sure. We’ll see how he handles it in Lambeau.

3.) Gary’s revenge

Gary Hughes, that’s right, Gary, which is what Jerry Hughes calls himself on the field as his alter-ego, was a terror for the Vikings’ offensive line last week. In fact, he’s arguably been the Bills’ best defensive player through three games this year. Hughes is playing some of the best football of his career at the age of 30. Sunday, he goes against a Packers team that is 26th in allowing sacks per-pass attempt on offense at a 9.86-percent rate and tied for the sixth-most sacks given up. If Hughes can contuse his tear it will go a log way for the Bills Sunday.


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