The Buffalo Bills (5-1) return from their bye to take on the Green Bay Packers (3-4) in primetime on Sunday Night Football. While quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills entered the break on a high following their 24-20 win over the Chiefs, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers suffered their third consecutive loss against one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Commanders.
Green Bay failed to convert a single third or fourth down and Rodgers averaged just 3.3 yards on complete passes against Washington on Sunday, October 23. When asked during the postgame press conference if the Packers can still turn things around, “I’m not worried about this squad,” Rodgers said. “In fact, this might be the best thing for us This week, nobody’s going to give us a chance, going to Buffalo on Sunday Night Football, with a chance to get exposed. Shoot, this might be the best thing for us.”
NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth laughed out loud when he was told Rodgers’ optimistic comments about the Bills game, and fans slammed the former Super Bowl champ on Twitter for having delusional confidence. But when Allen was asked about the four-time MVP’s statement during a press conference on Wednesday, October 26, the Bills star took the matter very seriously.
“He’s Aaron Rodgers,” Allen said. “One of the best, if not the best quarterback to play the game. I think we understand that. All we can focus on though is putting our best foot forward in practice, developing a game plan, and going out and trying to execute on Sunday night.”
“Every game is so different,” Allen continued. “We don’t really look at records. They’ve got a really good group of guys and again, one of the best quarterbacks that’s ever played the game.”
Buffalo was deemed 10.5-point favorites to beat the Packers, marking the first time in Rodgers’ career that he’s been a double-digit underdog. Not only do the Packers have a 0-6 career record when playing on the road in Orchard Park, per USA Today, but under head coach Sean McDermott, the Bills have never lost their first game back from a bye week.
Allen Said He Grew Up Admiring Rodgers
Allen, who’s gotten to know Rodgers over the years since they share similar social circles, noted how the 38-year-old veteran was a huge inspiration for him growing up.
“I’m a big fan of him, and obviously his play,” Allen said. “What he’s done in his career — it’s been awesome to watch as a kid wanting to be who he is on the field and emulate his game because he’s so dynamic. He’s does things that no other quarterback has done before him… Moving off the platform, ball placement – it’s so impressive to watch him.”
Similar to what Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier expressed on Monday, Allen made it clear that he is not sleeping on Rodgers.
“It’s a week-to-week league. Anybody can beat anybody every given Sunday,” Allen said. “And I think they’re a better team than what their record suggests. But again, that makes them very hungry. That makes us very aware of like we could see anything, so we have to be prepared for everything.”
Allen Has His Own Motivation to Beat the Packers in Week 8
While Rodgers is extra motivated to get a win in Week 8 in order to keep his team relevant for the postseason, Allen has his own source of inspiration. The 26-year-old recalled on Wednesday the first time he faced Rodgers as a rookie quarterback on September 30, 2018. During the matchup at Lambeau Field, the Bills lost 26-0.
“I didn’t know left from right at that point,” Allen said of the blowout defeat, during which he completed 16-of-33 passes for 151 yards and two interceptions. “Just in terms of our scheme, blocking, our protection – it was just a blur to me.”
A lot has changed since Allen first played against his idol. Heading into Week 8, Allen leads the NFL averaging 330 passing yards per game and ranks second with 19 touchdowns, per Bills reporter Maddy Glab.
As for when those elite quarterback instincts finally kicked in, and his ability to assess plays pre-snap, the Wyoming alum said it’s taken a village.
“I think things have slowed down a little bit, especially when you’re referring to that first Green Bay game I played in,” Allen said. “Just understanding how defenses are playing our team… I haven’t seen it all and there’s going to be some things that get me, but honestly, doing the best film prep that we can do, trusting on the coaching staff and the information we’re given, and then again, sticking to our base rules, and just trying to make things right if things go wrong and not making a bad play worse.