The Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers are set to square off tonight for the first time since the 2018 season. In that game, a rookie Josh Allen was overmatched and overwhelmed, as he struggled to the tune of a 48% completion rate, two interceptions, seven sacks taken, and just 151 total passing yards. The Packers smoked the Bills in that one, winning 22-0 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score suggested.
The last time the Packers traveled to Orchard Park, NY, though, was not a pleasant experience for future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In that game, Rodgers completed just 40% of his passes for 185 yards, two interceptions, and a fumble that resulted in a safety to seal a 21-13 Buffalo victory. Obviously, none of the participants in tonight’s game are the same as they were in those contests—even the players who do remain on the roster aren’t the same, as they’ve grown, progressed, and regressed in ways that would be expected.
The Bills are double-digit favorites tonight, marking the first time in Rodgers’s career that he’s been a double-digit underdog. Buffalo has never lost after a bye week with head coach Sean McDermott at the helm, but four of their five post-bye week opponents have finished under .500 in the season they played the Bills (the 2017 New York Jets, 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars, and 2019 Miami Dolphins all finished 5-11. The 2020 Los Angeles Chargers were a 7-9 squad.). The only team Buffalo has played after a bye that ended the season above .500 was the Dolphins last year, who ended the season at 9-8.
Tonight’s challenge is simple on the surface, as the 5-1 Bills seem to be a team very much on the up-and-up, whereas the 3-4 Packers are falling fast. Any team with a stud at quarterback can’t be counted out, however. The Packers do boast the league’s top pass defense, albeit while facing the fewest pass attempts in the league thus far.
Your first-half open thread is here, friends. Be civil to each other. Remember to toggle the comments to “oldest” for that classic game-thread experience. Most importantly, enjoy the game wherever it is that you’re watching.