Packers Maven

Packers can't take Bills lightly

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) drops back to pass against the Washington Redskins.Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, the Buffalo Bills were 17-point underdogs going into Minnesota, the reigning kingpins of the NFC North.

The Bills pulled off the unlikely upset by not only beating the Vikings, but routing them 27-6. Suddenly, what seemed like a layup for the Green Bay Packers might be a much bigger challenge on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

"I used a bunch of numbers today in the team meeting -- statistics-for-losers approach just to show the importance of statistics but, more importantly, what's inside of those statistics," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "One of the segments was about the Bills and the uncommonness of our opportunity. We played them four years ago and I think they've had two players on their (current) team back then. We don't know them and they don't know us, that's really what our focus in on. It's getting in tune with the uncommon. That's going to be our biggest challenge throughout the week and then come Sunday."

It's not just the rarity of seeing the Bills that's the problem. Three weeks into a season, a team's strengths, weaknesses and tendencies should be becoming apparent. However, the Bills haven't played a close game yet. How much of what the Packers are watching on video based on what Buffalo wants to do vs. what it's doing based on the scoreboard? Last week, for instance, the Bills didn't have primary ball-carrier LeSean McCoy, and the blowout score resulted in the Vikings running the football just six times.

"They've played three disjointed games," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "They've been down by multiple scores the first two and then they were up by 27 in the third game. The film is definitely different this week. Obviously, it's an uncommon opponent, but the score has dictated different things on defense. We have a lot of stuff to look at so we've been going through that, and we'll be ready for whatever they throw at us."

Add that to the list of problems confronting the Packers, who lost by two touchdowns at Washington on Sunday. Defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson was placed on injured reserve and outside linebacker Nick Perry is in the concussion protocol, two injuries that could further impact a pass defense that was destroyed by Minnesota's Kirk Cousins in the second half of a tie two weeks ago and Washington's Alex Smith in the first half last week. Offensively, right guard Justin McCray and right tackle Bryan Bulaga couldn't finish the Washington game, two injuries that could further impact an offense that has struggled to protect Rodgers. Rodgers, of course, is dealing with an injured left knee and missed his third consecutive Wednesday practice.

Buffalo's defense dominated its matchup against Minnesota. Cousins became the 23rd quarterback in NFL history to complete 40 passes in a game. With 296 passing yards, he's the only one of those quarterbacks to throw for less than 350 yards. Cousins was sacked four times and turned over the ball three times.

SERIES HISTORY: 13th regular-season meeting. Bills lead series, 8-4. The Packers are 3-1 at Lambeau Field. The series has been lopsided, with only one of the 12 meetings decided by seven points or less.

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