The Buffalo Bills are coming off their bye week rested and ready to take on the Green Bay Packers on the Sunday Night Football stage.
Here are 6 things to follow ahead of this spooky Halloween weekend game.
1. A team on the rise vs. a team on a 3-game losing streak
Through seven weeks of play, these two teams look quite different heading into SNF. Buffalo has won their last three games, including impressive road wins over the Ravens and Chiefs. Green Bay has lost their last three games, which includes losses to the Jets and the Commanders.
Over the last three games, the Packers are averaging just 17.7 points per game, which ranks 21st in the NFL. The Bills are averaging 28.3 points per game over that period, which is 7th best in the NFL. Buffalo leads the AFC with a 5-1 record through seven weeks, while Green Bay sits at the bottom half of the NFC with a record of 3-4.
The Packers' issues haven't necessarily been on defense. In fact, they have yet to give up more than 27 points in a game. Their issue has been the offense's inability to get it going with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his playmakers with the departure of Davante Adams. On the other hand, Buffalo has had an offense and defense that have supported each other through the start of the season. When Buffalo's offense hasn't performed at its best, the defense has been able to help out and vice versa.
Here's how the two teams compare on both sides of the ball:
Points per game – Bills: 29.33 (2nd), Packers: 18.29 (23rd)
Total yards per game – Bills: 440.8 (1st), Packers: 331.6 (20th)
Rushing yards per game – Bills: 117.8 (16th), Packers: 110.3 (18th)
Passing yards per game – Bills: 323 (1st), Packers: 221.3 (t-17th)
Third down efficiency – Bills: 52.8% (1st), Packers: 35.4% (25th)
Red zone efficiency – Bills: 54.5% (tied for 15th), Packers: 60% (t-9th)
Points allowed per game – Bills: 13.5 (1st), Packers: 20.86 (t-14th)
Total yards allowed per game – Bills: 281.5 (1st), Packers: 308.4 (8th)
Rushing yards allowed per game – Bills: 76.2 (1st), Packers: 139.6 (27th)
Passing yards allowed per game – Bills: 205.3 (11th), Packers: 168.9 (1st)
Takeaways – Bills: 13 (t-3rd), Packers: 5 (t-29th)
Opponents red zone efficiency – Bills: 50% (9th), Packers 44.4% (6th)
2. Sean McDermott is perfect coming off bye weeks
Under head coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are unbeaten coming off of a bye week. Since 2017, Buffalo is 5-0 after bye weeks and have wins over the Bucs, Dolphins, Chargers and more. McDermott averages 27.6 points per game, 349.8 total yards per game and has forced 10 takeaways following a bye week.
We will see if the Bills can keep the streak alive with a win against the Packers on Sunday night. Since the team doesn't have to spend Monday going through film of their previous game, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey thinks it's a great chance to get ahead on their opponent and press the reset button as they get back into the grind.
"The way Sean has modeled Monday, it kind of gels together well with what a typical Monday would look like," Dorsey said. "It really kind of helps us get a jump start on things. But obviously it's always going to be tough when you're playing a team like Green Bay in this type of situation. They put a little bit of pressure on you to have to execute. It's good to have an extra day to look at those things."
3. Getting healthy + a Tre'Davious White sighting?
The days of long injury lists are behind us (knocks on wood). Coming off a week of rest, the Bills look quite healthy heading into Week 8. They got almost everybody back for the Chiefs game except wide receiver Jake Kumerow and cornerback Tre'Davious White. During the Chiefs game, right tackle Spencer Brown came out of the game with an ankle injury.
Regardless of if these three will be ready to go or not on Sunday night, they are all expected to be improving following a week off than they were the previous week. Kumerow has missed the last few games with an ankle injury, so we will see if he's finally ready to go following four weeks of rest.
As for White, he is still within his 21-day window to return to the active roster. He technically doesn't have to return this week because his window is up heading into the Jets game for Week 9. White does have a week of practice under his belt and an extra week of rest and rehab thanks to the bye. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he thinks they aren't far from his return.
"We're looking forward to when he can go out there with our normal players and play in a game," Frazier said. "It doesn't seem like we're that far away from that, but we'll see how this week goes."
4. Different years for two great QBs
Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers. Two greats, right? Well, so far this year, one is trending up while the other is trending down. Sure, Rodgers is now older than plenty of quarterbacks in the NFL but that shouldn't mean he only has a little left in the tank, especially for a guy that won the MVP in 2020 and 2021. While Rodgers is struggling, Allen is making the case for why he's this season's most valuable player in the NFL.
It's been interesting to watch it all shake out so far this season. Of course, there's plenty of games left in the season, but here's where we stand right now.
Last week, against the Washington Commanders, the Packers didn't convert a third down (0 for 6). That's the first time in Rodgers' career that happened. It's also Rodgers' worst start through seven games (3-4) in his NFL career. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had never suffered a three-game losing streak as Green Bay's head coach. The cherry on top is that Rodgers has never been a double-digit underdog, and he's currently a 10.5-point underdog heading into Buffalo. Yikes. These are all things that would make sense for a new quarterback but not one that's won the MVP four times, won a Super Bowl and is a four-time first-team All-Pro.
The Packers and Rodgers need to find a way to turn it around if they have hopes of making the playoffs. Although, this will be a tough game to get back on track because the Bills have the best defense in the NFL allowing only 13.5 points per game and 281.5 total yards per game.
For Allen, it's been quite the opposite. He leads the AFC with a 5-1 record coming off the bye week. Buffalo's QB leads the NFL averaging 330 passing yards per game and is second with 19 total touchdowns and a 109.1 passer rating.
5. Best passing defense vs. best passing offense
One interesting storyline for Sunday will be the fact that the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL will be going up against the No. 1 passing defense in the league. Buffalo is averaging a whopping 323 passing yards per game, while the Packers are giving up a slim 168.9 passing yards per game. If you look at the total yardage, the Bills are averaging 440.8 yards per game (1st) and the Packers are giving up 308.4 yards per game (8th).
Green Bay's secondary has done a good job of limiting passers by surrendering only six passing touchdowns, which puts them in the top 5 for least given up. While the Packers have successfully slowed the pass, it hasn't always resulted in wins. For opponents, it hasn't been easy to stop Buffalo's passing attack, and it won't be easy for the Packers. They'll have one of their toughest tests on defense on Sunday night. Even if defenses have been successful at eliminating a playmaker, Bills quarterback Josh Allen still has plenty of options to throw to.
The Bills have 17 passing touchdowns (2nd) and 25 receptions of at least 20 yards (tied for 2nd best). Even with these numbers, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey knows Green Bay makes it tough for opponents to move the sticks in the air.
"I think they've really done a good job this year just kind of forcing teams to have to execute, forcing them to have to just run your stuff and run it effectively," Dorsey said. "They do a good job of that, they don't bust coverages, they don't give you a lot of easy lay-up types of throws or runs, or anything like that."
6. Primetime on Halloween weekend
The Bills have their third primetime game of the season set for this week. Sunday Night Football is heading to Buffalo for an 8:20 p.m. ET kick. It also just so happens to be Halloween weekend, which is epic. If you put it all together – Sunday Night Football in Buffalo on Halloween weekend – it just has the makings of what will hopefully be one wild weekend to remember.
There will definitely be more than just sad cheese heads in the crowd. There's no doubt some players will rock some spooky cleats during warmups as well. We will see who gets tricked and who gets the treat once the game begins.
This will be McDermott's fourth SNF appearance. So far, he is 3-0 on the SNF stage with wins over the Steelers and the Chiefs. In those three games, the Bills average 27 points a game and forced 11 takeaways.
Scroll through our photographers' best images from the Bills 5-1 start.