New-Look Ground Game Should Shine vs. BillsPosted:Sep 18th, 2010 6:21 pm
The reality of the 2010 season is that the Packers will make do without their top back Ryan Grant. In steps former second round pick Brandon Jackson, who joined the team as an uncertain 20-year-old with not a lot of experience--just one year as a main ball carrier with Nebraska--a few years back.
Now in his third season, Jackson seems poised to leap at the opportunity before him--and he couldn't ask for a better opponent to make his debut, other than maybe Oakland. The Bills have done a pretty good job against elite QBs of late. Last season, Tom Brady, Matt Schaub and Drew Brees combined to to throw just one touchdown pass between them last season.
You can argue that those teams had leads and were content to run the ball against the porous Bills run defense and for the most part that's probably true. I have no doubt that Aaron Rodgers will find the end zone a couple of times through the air, but this should be a week where Jackson gets about 20 carries and hovers around the century mark. John Kuhn and the newly signed Dimitri Nance should also get some carries.
The Bills are without oft-injured linebacker Paul Poluszny, one of their best tacklers and the Pack will use this occasion to start to establish a successful ground game and build some confidence, with Chicago and Detroit up next--two more defenses that are not too stout against the run.
As was the case last week, the Pack needs to perform well on special teams. Rookie running back C.J. Spiller is a dynamic return guy, as is punt returner Roscoe Parrish. The Bills will present the most anemic passing attack Green Bay will face this season. So the only way they keep this one tight is if they are working on short fields. The Pack made the Eagles' dangerous return game invisible; if they do the same this week the game should be over early.
The Pack has won its last three home openers and they get a favorable matchup this time around. I see no way the Pack doesn't steamroll the Bills. Final prediction to come on "Packer Preview" tomorrow.
I hope you can join me for the game. I'll be at the Park Tavern in St. Louis Park. We'll hand out prizes during the game, including a "Head Cheese" blanket. If you can't make it, I'll be tweeting throughout the game.