Packers facing stern challenge in Buffalo

Posted Dec 12, 2014

Bills defense has rankings to rival Seattle, Detroit

GREEN BAY—Twice before in this season, the Packers have faced an opponent with the kind of defensive rankings the Bills will take into Sunday’s game: at Seattle and at Detroit. The results of those games underscore the challenge the Packers will be facing in Buffalo.

“They’re solid everywhere. Inside they’re powerful, outside they have quickness on one side and quickness and size on the other. They’re a challenge,” Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements said of what his unit will face in Week 15 of the season.

The Bills defense is No. 5 overall, No. 8 against the run and No. 5 against the pass. By comparison, the Packers’ opening night opponent, Seattle, is first, third and first, and Week 3 opponent, Detroit, is second, first and 10th. The Packers lost to those opponents and managed only 23 points combined.

Even more impressive is the Bills’ No. 1 ranking in sacks and No. 2 ranking in third-down defense.

“I’m sure they look at it as a challenge,” Clements said of his offensive linemen. “Our whole offense looks at it as a challenge. Everyone looks at the individual matchups. They know they’re good and they’re preparing to give their best effort.”

Meanwhile, Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers found himself still having to address his unit’s second-half woes from Monday night’s game, when Capers spoke with the media on Thursday. Sunday’s game in Buffalo is an opportunity to atone for the 36 points the defense allowed in the second half against the Falcons.

“I would take the first half against them anytime. (Matt) Ryan had a 44 quarterback rating. We’re up 31-7 at halftime and we’re playing the way we’ve been playing. What happened in the second half is it became a two-minute drill. It became a four-down game,” Capers said.

“We have to get back on track. I feel like we can. They’re very correctible errors.”

The Bills don’t pose nearly as daunting a challenge on offense, but Kyle Orton threw for 355 yards in a losing cause at Denver last Sunday, and rookie receiver Sammy Watkins offers big-play potential.

“They’re going to be a hungry team. They’re fighting for their playoff lives. That’s a hostile environment. They’ve got a veteran quarterback. He knows how to get the ball out of his hand and where to go with it,” Capers said of what concerns him about Sunday’s game.

Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum found himself having to explain a rash of blocked kicks. The Falcons blocked an extra-point attempt by Mason Crosby on Monday night.

“Once you show weakness in protection, you better fix it or it’s going to get exposed. That’s an area we need to do a better job. Whoever is in there has to step up and get it done. You shouldn’t have kicks blocked,” Slocum said.

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