One week after a gloomy 17-31 loss to the Washington Redskins, Green Bay returned to Lambeau and shut out the Buffalo Bills in a much-needed victory. After years of making young, inexperienced quarterbacks look like future All-Pros under Dom Capers, the new Green Bay defense, led by Mike Pettine, held Buffalo to only 145 yards of offense and intercepted two of rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s passes. While the offense struggled a little more than fans may be comfortable with, the Packers came out yet again relatively healthy and jumped up to 2-1-1, good enough for second place in the NFC North.
RB Aaron Jones
Now two weeks removed from his two-game suspension, Jones has continued to prove that he is the most explosive back on this team and is deserving of more carries. The 2017 fifth-round pick tallied 11 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown, along with great burst on a screen play that garnered another 17 yards through the air. While many fans clamored for more of No. 33 throughout the second half of this week’s game, it may in Green Bay’s best interest to continue to limit Jones to 10-15 touches per game moving forward. Jones is clearly the biggest threat in Green Bay’s backfield, and it will make Aaron Rodgers’ job so much easier if he can stay fresh for a late postseason run.
OLB Kyler Fackrell
While he may be Packer Nation’s perennial punching bag, this week is definitely a time to give credit where credit is due. In a game where the Green Bay pass rush posted seven sacks on the Bills quarterback, the team leader in sacks wasn’t Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, or even Mike Daniels, but the often-maligned Kyler Fackrell. The third-year pro has long struggled to make an impact from scrimmage, but if there’s a year where Green Bay could use a surprise contributor from this pass rush, this is it. With defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson landing on injured reserve this past week, and Matthews and Perry injured more often than not, Fackrell could very well play a key role in this defense in 2018.
OL Byron Bell
A name that maybe many didn’t recognize from yesterday’s victory over the Bills, Bell stepped up in the absence of starting right guard Justin McCray and played well, allowing no sacks on the day. While not the flashiest of offensive lineman, the eight-year pro is a dependable backup at the guard position, he kept Rodgers upright, and he did not draw any penalties during the game, which is about all you can ask for from offensive lineman in the NFL. In the event that McCray is not ready to go by next weekend when the Packers travel to Detroit, expect Bell to draw the start yet again.
TE Jimmy Graham
Yes, Graham did score his first regular season touchdown in this weekend’s matchup against the Bills, but aside from that the former All-Pro played rather poorly. He dropped a number of catchable balls, and was the targeted receiver on Rodgers’ lone interception of the day. Granted, the interception may have been more due to an erratic pass on the quarterback’s fault, but Graham did bat the ball into the defender’s hands. Regardless, Graham has not yet lived up to his billing in Green Bay and needs to get back on track soon in order for the Packers offense to reignite into one of the deadliest in the league.
TE Lance Kendricks
Another week, another wide open drop by the veteran backup at the tight end position. While this week’s drop wasn’t on third down, it’s not an encouraging sign for a guy who ended last year with problems catching the ball. With Marcedes Lewis, a phenomenal run blocker with solid hands, in town, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that Kendricks continues to earn more playing time than Lewis. Time will tell if Kendricks, who is on the final year of his deal, can straighten things out or if Rodgers will begin to lose trust in the eight-year veteran.