5 Things to Watch in Packers vs Bills: How Much Fight Do the Packers Have?

Five things to watch as the Packers look to ignite their season with a shock win over the Bills.

Wide receiver snap counts

The ‘Aaron Rodgers Leadership Evaluation Committee’ was back in action this week when Green Bay’s quarterback stated “guys who are making too many mistakes, shouldn’t be playing”, but the truth is, the Packers may not have much choice in which receivers suit up against Buffalo.

Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are both out, meaning Sammy Watkins is the only true NFL veteran available on Sunday. That means Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure, and hopefully Christian Watson will have to step up.

According to wide receivers coach Jason Vrabel, Doubs was extremely frustrated with his performance a week ago, but LaFleur and Rodgers won’t give up on him and he figures to get plenty of targets again this week. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see who is trusted to line up and execute.

Alexander vs Diggs

Jaire Alexander was allowed to follow Terry McLaurin in last week’s loss, with Washington’s star receiver getting the better of him for several important plays.

Green Bay’s top corner will be looking to bounce back this Sunday and will demand the opportunity to shadow Stefon Diggs, one of the league’s premier wideouts.

Watching two of the NFL’s best battle it out is worth the price of admission alone for this weekend’s game, and if Alexander can lock Diggs down, it will go a long way to helping the Packers keep Josh Allen and the Bills offense under wraps.

Is Bak back?

David Bakhtiari missed last week’s game as he continues to work through issues with his knee, and is listed as ‘questionable’ for Sunday night.

Zach Tom has shown real promise and his performance against the Commanders was encouraging, but there’s nothing like having one of the NFL’s best and most experienced tackles protecting your quarterback’s blindside.

Buffalo’s defense is ferocious, and bookend rushers Von Miller and Greg Rousseau are a big reason why. If Green Bay hopes to get anything going on offense, they’ll need Bakhtiari, as well as Elgton Jenkins (who is also questionable to play), out on the field.

Who’s returning for the Packers?

Special teams co-ordinator Rich Bisaccia has continually defended Amari Rodgers despite his numerous mishaps returning punts and kick-offs, but it’s time for a change.

That change may have been made already if Christian Watson hadn’t been injured in London – he returned some kicks in the Packers’ loss to the Giants – and the rookie may get another crack at it this week, assuming he plays

Green Bay’s special teams has reverted to its old ways in recent games, and a new returner could be the jolt they need to get going in the right direction.

How much fight do the Packers have?

This is by far the most adversity the Packers have faced during the LaFleur era. Sitting at 3-4 facing a daunting road trip to a hostile environment housing a true Super Bowl contender, the odds appear stacked against Green Bay.

If the Packers fall to 3-5, their season could be on life support, even in a wonky NFC. They must throw everything they have at Buffalo on Sunday night and scrap for every single yard if they hope to come out on top.

This team rightfully been accused of folding when they get punched in the mouth. The Packers have a chance to set the record straight on Sunday night.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

5 points

Comments (45)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
mnbadger's picture

October 29, 2022 at 03:57 pm

One more thing I'm looking for is a sense of team effort and cohesion. Specifically, qb talking to offensive teammates while on the sideline. if he sees errors, correct them right away. No more sulking while ignoring input from Tom C and the rest of the offensive staff. He wants input, gametime is where his experience and insight would be best put to use. Not at podium post game or Tuesday radio show when it's too late.
GPG!

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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 08:54 am

I want to see an attitude: I want to see us come out as the true underdog that we are and go all out to prove the world wrong. That starts with a game plan and mindset that say we are going to use our weapons and impose ourselves. This is not a day to play safe or scared as we have been. Stop worrying about big okays or stalking: they are happening anyway. Be positive. Steal each down.

That means a defense that gives no space to receivers. It means being willing to attack the QB. It means playing rookies and using them to their strengths and going for it till it works not just racking up passes within ten yards and letting them stack that with players. It means running Jones, giving Dillon some power looks and not out of the shot gun.

I want to see us very clearly say we believe in ourselves and we are going to take the game to you and be willing ti go with what is working and adapt in game. Play hard, be willing to go down fighting. If we come out as the cautious and timid team we’ve mostly been, I think things will deteriorate fast. So get out there, and just go for it. Just as our last two opponents have.

There is no shame in losing today. The shame will be if we, from the situation we are in, can’t honestly say that we gave it everything we had and left nothing on the field. That will have major ramifications in the aftermath I suspect. We will learn IR confirm a lot about this team and it’s coaches today.

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mnbadger's picture

October 29, 2022 at 04:02 pm

one more quick question for bucky badger fans: why aren't the badgers playing Iowa or Minnesota or some other neighborhood rival this weekend? Late season buys suck.
Go Bucky Go!

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Bitternotsour's picture

October 29, 2022 at 04:45 pm

How much fight do the Packers have?

the fish, it rots from the head.

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splitpea1's picture

October 29, 2022 at 05:43 pm

Our two best hopes for winning:

1) The Bills have been reading their press clippings during their bye period after beating KC and won't be taking us seriously.

2) Knock Josh Allen out of the game early and turn the game into a defensive war of attrition.

The Bills have the best rushing defense in the league and have already snagged 10 interceptions. For a struggling offensive team like the Packers, this is the last team you want to play right now. So unless a few miracles occur, the only thing I'm expecting to see are many expressions of frustration and bewilderment from the Rodgers/MLF tandem.

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

October 29, 2022 at 06:31 pm

I think our two best hopes for winning are :

1) We execute on offense. We block guys. We run the right route, we catch the ball. We don't commit penalties and we especially don't turn it over. We stay on the field and score some points. Our defense starts with our offense keeping their offense off the field. I know 4.2 yards/play isn't fancy, but we can get down the field like that, but when it's 1st and 20 or 2nd and 10, that isn't going to be enough most of the time. To win this game, we need to stay on field on offense, and to do that, we'll have to execute.

2) On defense, we have to play like the #1 pass defense, or pretty close to it. The percentage move, IMO, would be to double Diggs and make somebody else beat us. Take away their biggest weapon if you can, which is exactly opposite of what happened in the opener with Minn. Hope you can maybe make a big play or two.

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Oppy's picture

October 29, 2022 at 09:05 pm

Leatherhead, to build on your secondary comments-

I'd like to see Douglas work with safety over the top of Diggs. Rasul is very savvy and with safety help over the top I believe they can effectively limit Diggs.

This allows Jaire to shutdown another WR, and preserves Stokes to line up where needed in a more favorable match up. Stokes also has the recovery speed to help limit the big play if the Bills decide to use the bracket coverage on Diggs as an opportunity to draw the safety away for another WR underneath to get 'over the top'.

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lou's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:24 am

Knock Allen out ? Did you miss losing to 3 straight backup QB's one that had never played a snap before, Come On Man.

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splitpea1's picture

October 30, 2022 at 11:12 am

We lost to one backup QB (Heinecke) who has played at least 1145 snaps before the Packers game last Sunday. So you might want to get your facts straight before you post, Man.

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fair_weather's picture

October 30, 2022 at 03:41 pm

You forgot: The Bills have amnesia and forget how to play football entirely.

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stockholder's picture

October 29, 2022 at 06:09 pm

1. If Rodgers gets hurt this game. Replace the whole OL. 2. Alexander vs.Diggs. I Get it. But does anybody else in the secondary get it?
3. I still say the packers can't cover a TE. 4. Expect Amari Rodgers to gain Zero yards. 5. And the biggest question I have is - Who's returning on the DL. The Packers can regain their confidence with a Win. I hope they Do.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 29, 2022 at 06:47 pm

3. Fortunately, Buffalo doesn't use the TE that much. The TEs collectively have had 25 touches, with Dawson Knox getting most of them, at less than 10 yards/ reception.

If we could take away Diggs, a real heavy portion of the passing offense would have to go through Gabriel Davis, who plays just about every snap on offense but has only caught 14 passes. One of those was for 98 yards, though, but basically, I'm not sure he can carry it, even if we're focused on Diggs.

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Oppy's picture

October 29, 2022 at 09:07 pm

If Rodgers gets hurt this game, you replace the QB.

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Oppy's picture

October 30, 2022 at 06:58 pm

Aw, look. 3 fanbois can't comprehend that when a player goes down, it's the next guy up.

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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:04 am

With whom would you replace the whole OL Stock? Are you saying just go young?

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ricky's picture

October 29, 2022 at 07:06 pm

In 2012, the Packers were 2-3, looked mediocre (at best), and were facing Houston, which was 5-0 and looked great on both sides of the ball. At a press conference, a confident, amused looking Aaron Rodgers was asked about the game and the Packers record. His response was, "R-E-L-A-X". The Packers crushed Houston, with Rodgers throwing four TD's (three to the vastly underrated Jordy Nelson). Fast-forward ten years, and a weary, haunted looking Rodgers stands at the podium and calls out his teammates, and wants some of them benched. The head coach seems clueless, and the team seems to be falling apart. Will the Packers pull it together and defeat Buffalo? I always try to look on the bright side and remain as positive and rational as possible. So, no, I don't see there is a chance of Buffalo losing, Would a close loss be a cause for celebration? Only for lovers of losers. I really think that Buffalo might have Allen sitting on the bench late in the third quarter; same with a battered, beaten Rodgers. So, it could be Case Keenum facing off against Jordan Love late in the game.

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Bitternotsour's picture

October 30, 2022 at 05:04 pm

2012 had a coach who was rock solid, a true leader of men. 2022 has a coach who gets his eyebrows waxed. perhaps this team could enjoy a spa day together as team building excercise.

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Oppy's picture

October 30, 2022 at 07:01 pm

It's likely that despite his handsome boyish looks, Coach LeFleur is probably more of a leader of men than you'd like to give him credit for.

He was a very successful starting QB in college, and has worked his way up through the coaching ranks over the years.

You typically don't succeed as a coach in this league without some leadership skills, and he clearly has spent some time commanding the huddle as a player.

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Swisch's picture

October 29, 2022 at 07:26 pm

It's a tough game, but this is the NFL of upsets.
The Packers are coming off three seasons in a row of 13 wins, and they've been able to win games without Davante Adams during that impressive stretch.
The key is Aaron Rodgers, which is why he makes $50 million in a season.
If he's coachable with his bosses, if he's agreeable with his teammates, if he's involved and inclusive about getting his young wide receivers targets, if he's focused and decisive, if he's encouraging and resolute in moments good and bad all the way through the game, the Packers can win. Oh, and get Aaron Jones the ball aplenty, plus some plays for A. J. Dillon to do some pounding.
Rodgers can lift this team. It's up to him. It's his legacy at stake as far as how he will finish with the Packers as a player and a person. His attitude will ripple with force from the offense to the defense to the special teams.
Even if the Packers lose to the Bills, he can set a tone for a drive to the playoffs. If the Packers can pull out a victory, then so much the better. Not too high and not too low, but always upbeat.
There's little to no room for continued moodiness, only a last opportunity to be a true leader on the field.
I'm rooting and praying for Rodgers to rise to the occasion.
I implore him to do so for his own good, and so many others, including us as true fans.
Go Pack Go!!!

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Johnblood27's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:23 am

you are wasting your breath.

old dogs, new tricks
same effort, same results
fiddle while Rome burns
Play the band as the Titanic sinks
whistle through the graveyard all you like, but it is still the graveyard

Happy Halloween!

1 points
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vin0770's picture

October 29, 2022 at 07:57 pm

I don’t see Buffalo having to punt so good luck scoring 50 and hanging around. It would be nice to see them compete like they got some pride and battle like a professional, instead of folding like a bunch of broccoli at the first sign of a bad play. They get so mentally defeated it’s sickening but they take on the personality of the HC…he’s a lead administrator not a culture driving force 😢

4 points
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MainePackFan's picture

October 29, 2022 at 08:17 pm

My Thoughts for what they're worth:
1. at the beginning of the year we were counting on the O-Line as a strength. We assumed that Jenkins and Bak would return to close to all pro form. They haven't yet. We assumed Newman would continue to progress. He regressed. We assumed that the multi-talented Jenkins would be able to slide over to RT with no problem. He didn't. The offensive line going will be a big part of determining who this team is going forward, so far they have been a big reason why we are 3-4.

2. We assumed that we could replace DA with a couple of rookies and some AR friendly vets. So far that hasn't been the case. Is it possible that this team would be better if the O-line was better and the veteran receivers weren't injured. I think that's fair to say.

3. We assumed that the defense was ready to take the next step after the way they played in the playoff game against San Fran. We assumed that Dre and Rasul would duplicate last year. That was never realistic, those were career years. I believe that they will still be very productive, but shame on us for assuming they would duplicate last year.

4. We assumed that AR is still capable of lifting an underperforming O-line and inexperienced receivers. He can't, and to be honest, if he was AR from 2010 playing QB with this years team, I highly doubt this team would be significantly better than their 3-4 record.

5. We assumed that the Giants, Jets and Commanders (Redskins) would suck. They don't. They are a combined 14-6.

6. We assumed that we could easily replace coaches we lost with the next man up approach. So far it doesn't appear that has been successful. Will it be? Time will tell.

I guess my point is, if you add up all the moving parts, the injuries, the changes in personnel, the improvement of teams that have sucked. You have the absolute clusterf**k we are experiencing.

Is this the end product? No, I don't think it is. I don't think MLF is a bad coach. I don't think AR is a washed up Diva that hates everyone but himself. I believe the one thing that we all assumed correctly, was that this team is a good team with a lot of talent. I don't think we got that wrong. Time will tell.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:08 am

It’s not just what you have, it’s how you use it. We have lost to less talented rosters and been out thought as they did more with less. In the end, the biggest deficit over expectations here is the performance of the coaching staff in my opinion.

We may make assumptions about suitability of promotions. A head coach needs to know and have a strategy for replacement in place. Coaches move all the time and we were expecting some interest. Hires don’t always work individually, but collective failure points to incompetence.

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MainePackFan's picture

October 30, 2022 at 01:42 pm

The key to this team is the O-line. The key to the O-line is Bak and Jenkins. A healthy Bak and Jenkins leads to a more effective offense, which leads to more points, which leads to a better defense because they aren't on the field as much, which leads to complementary football, which leads to better coaching :)

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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 02:23 pm

To me, better coaching is what is done when players and units are struggling, not when their talent is winning for them.

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MainePackFan's picture

October 30, 2022 at 06:06 pm

Ok, I agree. If you were the coach, what would you do with this O-line? that MLF hasn't?

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fair_weather's picture

October 30, 2022 at 03:42 pm

You know what Benny Hill said about making assumptions? When you assume you make an Ass out of U and Me.

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Ritzy's picture

October 29, 2022 at 09:50 pm

Simple and straight/ forward - Please don't embarrass yourselves on national TV. Give it your best shot. And rely on the run game. That's where your talent is. A good showing is what the Packers need.

3 points
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fangirl's picture

October 29, 2022 at 11:48 pm

I think Aaron will play loose and bold. He has nothing to lose and I'm hoping for 1-2 deep ball catches.
I want to see Jaire intercept.

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fair_weather's picture

October 30, 2022 at 03:43 pm

Let’s go!

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Cubbygold's picture

October 30, 2022 at 05:23 am

This kind of goes with #5. What kind of defense do we really have?

Forget all the issues on offense, we know injuries and new faces are causing issues that may or may not get corrected in time to save the season. This defense knew they had to lead in the first half of the season. They sat around getting all the hype in the offseason, and somehow they even got both of the teams first round picks in the draft. They're healthy, they have all their starters back and they've even gotten decent contributions from depth players.

Unlike the offense, there are no excuses for this defense. They've managed to be a statistically 'average' team so far this year, but look at the quality of their opponents. This game is going to show us what this collection of first round picks is capable of, or not.

4 points
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Packerlifer's picture

October 30, 2022 at 08:20 am

Buffalo has had only 2 home games so far this year. They beat Tennessee 41to 7 and Pittsburgh 38 to 3. See a trend here?

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 02:25 pm

35:-1?

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fair_weather's picture

October 30, 2022 at 03:43 pm

52-3

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nygary's picture

October 30, 2022 at 08:22 am

Like Mike Tyson said , everyone has a plan until they punched in the mouth. This team gets roasted by the bills. And if your honest with yourself as a fan, its the only way to get the FO to make changes. Starting with that swollen head Mr. Rogers. For all the people on this site that defend him, after last week's game he said if i played a TICK better maybe we could have won. Really you just need to play a TICK better. What a leader he is.

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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:14 am

I don’t disagree, but Murphy personally brought Rodgers back at huge cost and despite massive questions about how that made sense with the roster in place and the cap. For Murphy to concede that Rodgers needs to be benched and thus that it was foolish and a failure would almost require a resignation given the implications for the franchise.

If the reason is LaFleur holding him back, then it’s firing the man Murphy imposed to save the franchise after the debacle he over saw up to 2018 and just extended. Murphy was happy to let Ball act as surrogate GM for a couple of years as a try out to succeed TT and then single handly decided on LaFleur after canning MM, at least in part due to the worst roster in decades.

For the Gute blamers, whatever one thinks of this roster, it was set in stone when Murphy had Rodgers back due to time and cap. Murphy brought Rodgers back knowing our roster would look like plus a few rookies. As such Gute and the roster isn’t relevant to evaluation if that decision. Nor is Rodgers himself. We knew who he was very well when we made that commitment.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 30, 2022 at 08:55 am

We are facing a superior opponent. We are down to scrubs at WR. The offensive line is not in sync. Our QB has an injured thumb.

If it comes to that, I am not going to bemoan a loss. It’s the rest of the season that will determine our fate. I am going to be at the game and cheer them on regardless.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:28 am

If the thumb is a real impairment, bench him. This is a game we are perhaps the least likely to win. Throw in Love but not with a Rodgers game plan: LaFleur surely learnt that lesson after last year? Or maybe LaFleur is really the problem that drags everything down talent and experience can’t overcome.

1 points
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Johnblood27's picture

October 30, 2022 at 09:15 am

El Foldo begins at 8:20 tonite.

Wait...

I bet our coach has a plan that will work for us in this game.
Do you remember the dallas game with davante out? It was the Aaron Jones show.
...or maybe the Cardinal game last year with multiple receivers out? ...that was the Rasul Douglas show.

Just foolin'! MLF is clueless and AR makes the gameplans, therefore there is no chance whatsoever.

It might not be ugly, but I wouldn't date it.

5 points
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GVPacker's picture

October 30, 2022 at 01:34 pm

LOL!!!

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fangirl's picture

October 30, 2022 at 10:01 am

Matt Lafleur admitted 80% of plays were conceived to showcase the Aaron Rodgers-Davante Adams chemistry.

Aging, injury-prone receivers/ rookies are the 'replacements' for Davante? Was Aaron aware that there would be no replacements coming his way before he re-signed? If so, was the $50 million enough of a carrot?

GB seems very bizarre right now.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

October 30, 2022 at 02:28 pm

80 percent through Adams always seemed to be equivalent to “just let Rodgers do what he wants.” Nice easy ride for a while Matt. You took us all on one too while we still thought you were a head coach.

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jhtobias's picture

October 30, 2022 at 12:03 pm

look as for the outcome meaning win or lose tonight truthfully the packers are going to need the bills to beat themselves it is just reality but that is not my point .

1. Tackling- If the packers have garbage tackling they really need to rehaul this defensive staff they are not coaching or holding anyone accountable
2. Penalties and mental errors on both sides- If these continue at the same rate on either side of the ball once again coaching staff needs to be rehauled.
3.game adjustments and effort same story if we see none of this on a consistent basis please see 1 and 2 above.

can they win I guess anything is possible, but accountability is what I'm looking for,

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canadapacker's picture

October 30, 2022 at 12:07 pm

As they say on Any Given Sunday – but not this Sunday and not in Buffalo. Last year New England went in and won – but I dont think that they threw 3 passes and the weather was horrible. But not this Sunday 60 F and sunny during the day. I just want them to play well and get set up for the next 9 weeks. Taking the long view they ultimately need to win the remaining 4 games against their Division plus 3 others – then they might get to 10-7 and get to the playoffs. They need to beat the Cowboys and Rams because head to head matters assuming the Phillie and Giants gets the spots and then beat either Titans or Miami. Last wild card spot.

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fair_weather's picture

October 30, 2022 at 12:53 pm

All depends on Vegas.

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