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Carucci Take 2: Once seen as a possible Super Bowl preview, Bills-Packers could be another big Buffalo win

WGRZ Bills/NFL Insider Vic Carucci wonders, is there any reason to believe the Packers are going to find something to motivate them against the Bills?

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Here are my five thoughts on the Buffalo Bills’ game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Highmark Stadium:

1. This looked like such a great matchup … until the Packers started playing.

Las Vegas has this one right, just as it did for the Bills’ bludgeoning of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers merit being a double-digit underdog. They’re a bad team and there’s no reason to believe they’ll improve by Sunday night.

The offseason departure of Devante Adams started an avalanche of offensive problems enhanced by Aaron Rodgers’ inability to find the right chemistry with a remaining cast of mostly young receivers. He has called them out publicly, which so far has only served to make matters worse. Rodgers also doesn’t seem to be on the same page as coach Matt LaFleur.

2. I’m not buying that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are getting an emotional lift from their extreme underdog status.

They didn’t just begin playing poorly. This club has been struggling for most of the season. It couldn’t find a spark in London, where it lost against the Giants, and continued to function the same way the next two weeks against the New York Jets and Washington Commanders.

Why is there any reason to believe the Packers are going to find something to motivate them against the Bills? Rodgers isn’t wired that way. When he plays well, he does so methodically, almost mechanically. He’s a cool, calculating pro who doesn’t ride the emotional waves the way veteran counterpart Tom Brady does.

Rodgers is a cat. He’s a player of mental games who enjoys keeping people, especially those in the media, guessing about what his feelings are about his team and his future with it. It’s hard to see the perspective of oddsmakers having much of a place on his list of concerns.

3. I’m not buying the theory that being off last week is any sort of disadvantage to the Bills on Sunday night.

Sure, it’s possible they could get off to a slow start and might need a couple of series, if not the first quarter, to get rolling. But I’m not expecting the Bills to be all that flat for most of the game.

Sean McDermott has proven to be a master of keeping his players focused after returning from a bye. He has a 5-0 post-bye record since taking over the Bills in 2017.

McDermott also does an exceptional job of having his coaching staff conduct a thorough study of all that the team has done right, and especially what it has done wrong, in all its previous games of the season.

4. It would be better if Tre’Davious White were back in the lineup for this game, but the Bills have proven they can weather repeated injury storms in their secondary.

White continues to recover from the severe knee injury he suffered at New Orleans on Thanksgiving. When healthy, he’s as good as any cornerback in the NFL.

When White will receive medical clearance to return is anyone’s guess, but the Bills have exceptional depth among their defensive backs. The first six games have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, their pass defense can hold up well through the balance of the season.

5. The Packers’ best hope for success is to run the ball effectively.

They’ve been trying to do that all season, given a lack of firepower through the air that has limited Rodgers to mainly throwing short and intermediate passes. The Pack has the NFL’s 18th-ranked rushing offense.

The Bills? They’re ranked first against the run, as well as first in total defense and points allowed. The stout interior of the Bills’ defensive line should make it difficult for Green Bay to get anything going on the ground. That should allow for Von Miller and the rest of the Bills’ edge rushers to tee off on Rodgers for the better part of the night.

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