Once sitting in a tie atop the NFC North at the beginning of October, things have quickly gone from bad to worse for the Green Bay Packers. They have lost three straight games and are suddenly searching for answers as they look to get their season back on track. Set to travel to Orchard Park to battle the Buffalo Bills, Sean McDermott's group enters this one red hot. Fresh off a bye, the team defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle of two AFC heavyweights in week 6. Led by the play of Josh Allen and their prized offseason acquisition in Von Miller, the Bills are currently No. 1 in the NFL in total offense and total defense. In the 14th battle all-time between these two franchises, here is what to watch for in this one.
Green Bay Packers
Looking to get back in the win column, the Packers have free fallen down the NFC playoff race over their last three games. Primarily due to their struggles on the offensive side of the ball, Adam Stenavich's unit has been plagued by mental errors and drops, leading them to fail to put together a complete 60-minute performance. Along with this, after capturing back-to-back MVP awards, Aaron Rodgers has looked like a shell of himself. Knocked off by the Washington Commanders a week ago, the star quarterback completed just 23 of his 35 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown pass while averaging a measly 5.5 yards per completion. Currently ranked 20th in the NFL in yards per game (331) and 23rd in the NFL in points per game (18.3), Green Bay will be hard pressed to get right against a Buffalo defense that is No. 1 in DVOA according to Football Outsiders.
Lauded by many as a unit expected to leap forward in 2021, the Packer's defense has struggled to find any consistency through seven weeks. Currently ranked 11th in DVOA, the group has been troubled by second-half shortcomings. Jumping out to leads in the opening 30 minutes, Green Bay has outscored their opponents 82-60. However, they have a minus 43-point margin in the second half. Once again unable to get Taylor Henickie and company off the field in crunch time last Sunday, they surrendered back-to-back scoring drives to open up the third quarter. Set to face their most significant test of the season. Buffalo's offense heads into this one no. 1 overall in yards per game (449.2) and second in points per game (29.2).
Currently, in possession of the top spot in the AFC Playoff race, Buffalo's high-powered offense has been red hot as we creep up on the season's midpoint. Led by the play of the current MVP frontrunner, Josh Allen, the star quarterback recently became the third player in history to eclipse 2,200 scrimmage yards through six games of a season. Along with this, Stefon Diggs is also on a historic pace. The 28-year-old is second in the league in receptions (49), receiving yards (656), and touchdowns (6). The team is trying to advance to 6-1 for the first time since 1993. They will be tasked with navigating a Green Bay secondary that has been tough on opposing quarterbacks by giving up an NFL best 168.9 yards per game through the air.
After finishing the 2021 season as the top group in the league, Buffalo's defense is off to a strong start once more. The team sits first in the NFL in yards per game (302.5), rushing yards per game (76.2), and points per game (13.5). Benefitting from their free agent acquisition of Von Miller, the three-time First-team All-Pro member has racked up six sacks through his first six games with the Bills. Forced to shuffle players around in the secondary with the loss of Micah Hyde, and as they await the return of Tre'Davious White, Leslie Frazier's unit is strong at preventing the big play and forcing takeaways, with ten interceptions already on the season.
Points Spread: GB +10.5 (-110) | BUF -10.5 (-110)
Money line: GB +425 | BUF -550
Over/Under: O 47.0 (-110) | U 47.0 (-110)
Taking a look at the spread of 10.5, take Buffalo to cover in a matchup of two teams trending in opposite directions. Losers of their last three contests, Green Bay, heads into the game as a double-digit underdog for the first time under Rodgers. With the game total set at 47, lean on the under in this one. Buffalo's defense heads into week 8 as the top group in the league. They have held Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson to just 20 points each in two of their last three games. This will spell trouble for a Green Bay passing attack that is searching for answers.
In a rare cross-conference matchup, Green Bay is set to travel to Orchard Park for the first time since 2014. Looking to salvage their season after three straight losses, the Packers now find themselves 2.5 games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Bills are looking for their fourth straight victory, with their eyes set on the top seed in the AFC. While a desperate-led Rodgers team is always dangerous, Buffalo's defense should make life tough on the four-time MVP. Off a bye, Allen and company keep their foot on the gas all night long and pull away late.
Final Score: Green Bay Packers 14, Buffalo Bills 31