The Buffalo Bills played and lost to each of the final four teams in 2010. Earlier we looked back at the three games the Bills played against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets in anticipation of this afternoon AFC Championship Game. We'll finish our look ahead to Championship weekend with a look at Buffalo games against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
Trent Edwards and the Bills traveled to Green Bay in Week 2. The offense was horrendous and the passing defense couldn't stop anyone, most notably Jermichael Finley, as the Packers trounced the Bills 38-7. The Packers rushing attack was slowed by the season-ending injury to Packers running back Ryan Grant but QB Aaron Rodgers led an effective attack. The suffocating Packers defense led by three Clay Matthews sacks forced two turnovers and held the Bills to 186 offensive yards.
Looking back on this game it's no surprise it was Trent Edwards' last. The Bills looked out of sync all game. The offensive line wasn't making the right adjustments. Edwards wasn't making the right reads. Nobody on defense could cover Finley who had four catches for 103 yards to outgain Buffalo's entire passing offense that day. The Packers managed only 91 yards against the pitiful Bills rushing defense but Aaron Rodgers didn't get sacked all day and Green Bay didn't turn the ball over once. It was a precise and effective game.
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The Bills welcomed the Bears to the confines of the Rogers Centre in week nine. Buffalo stood toe to toe with the eventual NFC North Champions and each team scored three touchdowns. The difference in the game was a missed extra point in the third quarter. After scoring another touchdown the Bills missed the ensuing two-point conversion while the Bears answered and took a 22-19 lead on a successful two-pointer of their own.
The Bills actually out-gained the Bears 340 to 283 but a negative-2 turnover rating doomed Buffalo. Buffalo's rushing attack managed only 46 yards against a stout Bears front but the passing attack fell just short of 300 yards. Jay Cutler was average completing 56% of his passes for 188 yards.
Based on the games played against the Bills the Packers passing attack should have little problem dissecting the Bears pass defense that Ryan Fitzpatrick played pretty well against. While the rushing attack led by University of Buffalo graduate James Starks is likely to be contained Rodgers should be able to deliver the ball to his wideouts effectively. The Bears offense put up only three touchdowns on the Bills despite receiving little pressure on Cutler. With Matthews harassing Cutler the Packers should have the upper hand their as well.
Looking at all four teams, the most noticeable difference between the AFC Championship combatants and the NFC teams is the difference in how they beat the Bills. Pittsburgh and New York both pounded the rock at the Bills an average of 45 times for well over 200 yards while the Packers and Bears combined for only 58 rushing attempts and didn't top 200 combined rushing yards. Despite the divisional contest in the NFC the AFC battle features two teams that aren't afraid to stick their noses in on offense and defense and should be a grinding style of game.