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Week 15 Preview: Packers at Bills

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Green Bay Packers (10-3) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver

*Keys to the game: The Packers lead the NFL with 48 opening-possession points, and show no signs of slowing down as the NFL’s highest-scoring outfit. Green Bay also leads the league with 134 points in the first quarter, and 34 first-half touchdowns (the Bills have 28 total TDs) and 32.5 points per game.

How feasible is it for the Bills to keep up? Their fate rides in their third-down and red-zone success. Last week at Denver, the Bills didn’t surrender a touchdown pass to Peyton Manning but the Broncos converted 40 percent of third downs and went 3-for-3 in the red zone. In Buffalo’s past three home games, the Bills gave up only nine first downs in 40 third-down attempts and two touchdowns in six red-zone trips.

QB Kyle Orton thrives if play-action works, and will attack the left side of the Packers’ secondary that was torched by Falcons WR Julio Jones last week. Rookie WR Sammy Watkins mans that spot for the Bills, and could give CBs Sam Shields and Davon House flashbacks.

Still, Orton is not situated to match Aaron Rodgers touchdown-for-touchdown. The Bills ran the ball only 16 times last week, and coach Doug Marrone wants to be closer to 30 for Buffalo’s ideal game plan.

Buffalo’s defensive line can harass Rodgers but his ability to make plays when protection breaks down keeps the moving target on the Bills’ secondary.

*Matchup to watch – Packers RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks vs. Buffalo’s front seven: Manning was content gaining 4.6 yards per rush last week and Rodgers, while not on the plain of patience, understands it’s in his best interest to let Lacy and Starks pound down the Buffalo defenders. The tandem combined for 179 yards last week, the fourth time in five games with at least 130 rushing yards for Green Bay.

*Player spotlight – Watkins: Along with Robert Woods the Bills have the ability to terrorize a leaky secondary that couldn’t slow down the Falcons last week. Three of every four Watkins catches go for first downs.

*Fast facts: The Packers are 0-5 all-time at Buffalo. … With a win, the Packers would be at least .500 on the road for the seventh time in coach Mike McCarthy’s nine seasons. … Rodgers made his 100th career regular-season start in Week 14 and is first in NFL history in TD passes (222), yards (27,520), passer rating (107.3) and TD-INT ratio (222-54) through 100 starts.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The threat is real from the Bills because of their pass rush and capable receiving corps, but it’ll take near perfection from QB Kyle Orton and his offensive line to pull the surprise.

*Our pick: Packers 31-23


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