NFL Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills Preview, Prediction & Odds -- 8/28/21

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1 p.m. ET, Aug. 28, 2021
Venue: Highmark Stadium, Buffalo, NY
Where to watch: NFL Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Bills -8, Packers +8; O/U 35; Bills -350, Packers +270
BetMGM: Bills -7.5, Packers 7.5; O/U 35; Bills -350, Packers +275
FanDuel: Bills -8, Packers +8

Preseason record
Packers: 0-2 (last game, lost 23-14 vs. Jets)
Bills: 2-0 )last game, won 41-15 at Bears)

Sean Murphy made it three straight NFLX big ticket O/U winners with his 10-star Total of the Week, kicking off Friday night. Check out Murph’s picks and the rest of our thoughts for this week’s preseason action. It's available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Packers - Bills preview and analysis


Don’t hold your breath on seeing the mega quarterback matchup this weekend, but it’s still an important tuneup for the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills in this final preseason game.

The Packers will visit the Bills on Saturday, and barring any drastic changes, we will not see Aaron Rodgers or Josh Allen until Week 1 of the regular season.

The Bills are moving into the regular season on a roll with their depth. Buffalo is coming off a dominant 41-15 win over the Chicago Bears last week, with -- of all people -- Mitchell Trubisky getting the start, and win, against his former team.

Trubisky, drafted No. 2 overall by the Bears in 2017, went 20-of-28 for 221 yards and a touchdown against the team that decided to move on from him, and draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields instead.

Fields was 9-of-19 for 80 yards, and also ran 46 yards in his second preseason game, but forget seeing him in Week 1. Andy Dalton has been named the Bears’ starting quarterback. The entire city of Chicago would probably rather clamor for CM Punk to be the quarterback of the Bears right about now.

Dalton did fine on an 11-of-17 day for 146 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown in the second quarter to Rodney Adams. This was more about Chicago’s lack of defense than anything else; the Bills scored 28 unanswered points in a matter of 23:24 and led by four touchdowns before the Bears finally did something worthwhile.

Expect Trubisky to get the start once again for Buffalo, and to see more of Isaiah McKenzie while Stefon Diggs rehabs a knee injury. It’ll be a long grind for the Bills in their quest to leapfrog the Kansas City Chiefs for AFC supremacy. Coach Sean McDermott still possesses a strong defense that will give teams fits this season.

August football games are the perfect time for contenders to see what they have behind them. Case in point, the Bills. But the Packers are in that same boat, knowing that Rodgers (amidst all that drama this offseason) will not play one snap of an NFL preseason game again.

That’s where the Packers lead it to guys like Kurt Benkert to throw for 151 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s 23-14 loss to the New York Jets. That was the game for Jets fans to salivate over No. 2 pick rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who went 9-for-11 for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. So much so, that even Rodgers himself was all heart eyes over the Jets’ first-round pick.

Imagine if the Packers had Wilson over Jordan Love.

But just think how many eyes will be on the Packers; three Sunday Night matchups, one Monday night game (against the Detroit Lions, which begs the question, what are we doing, NFL?), a Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals. Oh, and they open against the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

There is extreme pressure on Rodgers to avenge his NFC championship loss last season to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no doubt they’re still the class of the NFC North, given the Bears’ uncertainties and the head-scratching going on with Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.

Offensive analysis


Think of this in regular-season terms, then cut them in half. This would be a battle of top-five offenses in any given year. The Bills operated just under 400 yards per game, while the Packers were at 389. Think of how good these passing attacks can be. These are the playoff teams the Bills and Packers had better passing games than a season ago: the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns. Washington Football Team, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Indianapolis Colts. Can we just skip forward to the regular season now?

When do the Packers call the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson? Asking for a friend.

Defensive analysis


The Bills should normally have a stout defense, but they allowed 23.4 points per game last season, which was middle of the pack. Same goes for the Packers, who gave up 23.1. The key for both teams is who plays well in the middle of the defense. Both squads have talented linebackers, but good enough to be difference makers? That’s up for another discussion.

Prediction


If the quarterbacks aren’t coming out to play, the Bills’ backups would like a strong showing than Green Bay’s. Buffalo gets it done behind … Mitchell Trubisky. Still weird. Bills win 27-14.

Betting trends


The Packers are 18-7 against the spread in their last 25 when allowing 5 to 5.5 net passing yards per attempt.

The under is 23-6 in the last 29 when the Bills' defense allows 150 passing yards or less.

Key injuries


Packers: QB Jordan Love (shoulder, questionable), LB Za’Darius Smith (back, questionable)

Bills: WR Cole Beasley (COVID), DT Vernon Butler (COVID), DT Star Lotulelei (COVID), WR Stefon Diggs (knee, questionable)

Players to watch


Packers: In hopes of finding a second receiver to complement Davante Adams, third-round pick Amari Rodgers should see more snaps this weekend. He had four catches for 31 yards last week.

Bills: Jacob Hollister is coming for that No. 2 tight end spot. Entering his fifth season out of Wyoming, Hollister had three catches for 53 yards against the Bears.

Statistical leaders from last week


Packers:
Passing: Kurt Benkert -- 18-for-25, 151 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Patrick Taylor -- 8 carries, 48 yards
Receiving: Malik Taylor -- 4 catches, 66 yards
Defense: Henry Black -- 6 tackles

Bills:
Passing: Mitchell Trubisky -- 20-for-28, 221 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Reggie Gilliam -- 8 carries, 24 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Isaiah McKenzie -- 7 catches, 72 yards
Defense: Brandin Bryant -- 1.5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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