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Green Bay Packers travel to Buffalo Bills

Game Details

Match-up: Green Bay Packers (10-3) @ Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York

Date: Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time: 12:00 PM CST

TV: FOX

The Green Bay Packers have traveled to the far side of the Great Lakes to visit the Buffalo Bills.  The 10-3 Packers will look to keep pace with the Arizona Cardinals, who, with a victory over the St. Louis Rams, remained the pace-setters for the top seed in the NFC playoffs.  For the Bills, who at 7-6 are unlikely to catch the New England Patriots an win their conference, this is a chance to remain alive in the AFC wild card race.  Each team has bested the three other opponents they have faced in the others’ division.  It should be a good game.

Key Match-up

Buffalo defensive line vs. Packers offensive line.  The Green Bay Packers offensive line has been quietly improving week after week, having not played poorly since facing the Dolphins in Miami.  Buffalo presents arguably the biggest challenge since that game, with two-time All-Pro Kyle Williams as the anchor.  The Packers will need their best effort against the Bills, one of the best pass-defending teams in the league.

For the Packers, the name of the game is creating mistakes out of Kyle Orton.  Buffalo is a poor running team, and an average passing team.  They win games on the strength of their defense.  Kyle Orton has been serviceable, but has seven interceptions and two fumbles in nine games.  Creating turnovers and putting the Packers’ offense in favorable field position will tilt this game in the Packers’ favor.

Player to Watch

James Starks.  Buffalo native (and octogenarian favorite) James Starks has been used sparingly this season, rushing just 69 times.  However, he received ten carries a week ago, and looked good rushing for 75 yards.  As good as Bufallo is in pass defense, they can be run on.  Green Bay may hand off more than usual this week.  For more on Starks’s return home, see the excellent piece from Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Prediction

The Packers held on to beat the Atlanta Falcons a week ago 43-37.  The score should not have been permitted to be that close.  Expect the Packers to win behind a better defensive performance this week.  However, it is also unlikely that Green Bay, who feasted on the Falcons and other weak pass defenses this season, to put up 40 or more points on the Falcons.  The Packers have been balanced all season.  That should continue, with tough yards from Starks and Lacy playing a key role in this game.  Packers 27, Bills 14.