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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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Rodgers relishing no-hoper status as Packers face Bills

Aaron Rodgers wants the Green Bay Packers to embrace their underdog status as the struggling team bids to snap a three-game losing streak against the in-form Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

After winning three of their first four games, the Packers’ season has gone off the rails in recent weeks with defeats to the New York Giants, New York Jets and Washington Commanders leaving the team at 3-4.

On paper, there couldn’t be a worse time for the Packers to be heading to Western New York to face Josh Allen and the Bills (5-1), who are well-rested after a bye week that followed a statement victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

But Rodgers believes the fact that the Packers are being written off — bookmakers make the Bills favorites to win by more than 10 points — can be turned into a positive.

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“Embrace the fact that nobody is expecting you to win … I’ve always enjoyed that feeling,” the veteran Green Bay quarterback said this week ahead of Sunday’s nationally televised prime-time fixture.

“For these guys with a lot to prove, hopefully they embrace that as well. It’s time to make a name for yourself in this league. There’s a lot of guys that are going to get opportunities on Sunday on national TV with millions and millions of people watching.

“Great time for some of those guys to step into the limelight.”

Rodgers could head into Sunday’s game with an offense denuded by injuries.

Star receiver Randall Cobb has already been ruled out, while Allen Lazard is also doubtful with a shoulder injury.

It has left some wondering whether the Packers may even struggle to reach the playoffs this season.

However, Packers coach Matt LaFleur says his team can’t hide behind the injuries to explain recent difficulties.

“To me, that’s nothing more than an excuse,” LaFleur said of the Packers’ injury problems.

“You’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to do a better job of putting our guys in position. We’ve got to do a better job collectively.”

Rams eye 49ers revenge 

Elsewhere on Sunday, the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams have the chance to get their season back on track in a divisional battle against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Rams have stumbled through the opening weeks of the campaign, struggling to find the offensive consistency that carried them to an NFL championship last season.

The Rams (3-3) were comprehensively outplayed by the 49ers earlier this month, losing 24-9.

Since then, the 49ers have strengthened their offense with the recruitment of running back Christian McCaffrey, giving Rams coach Sean McVay another defensive headache going into Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium.

“There’s no limitations in his game,” McVay said of McCaffrey.

“So we have to be able to play sound defense, do a great job. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

A victory for the Rams could see them pull ahead of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West divisional race.

The Seahawks (4-3) host the New York Giants (6-1) on Sunday in what is the only fixture between two teams with winning records.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll has spent the week devising a plan to nullify Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who is currently second in the league for overall rushing yards with 726.

“He has everything,” Carroll said.

“He’s got power, he’s got speed, he’s got tremendous elusiveness and his tackle-breaking ability is as good as anybody that plays the game.

“He poses the ultimate threat … This is as hard as it gets.”

The Philadelphia Eagles (6-0), meanwhile, will be expected to extend their perfect start to the season to seven games when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles signaled their determination to mount a championship campaign this week after trading for top pass rusher Robert Quinn from the Chicago Bears.

Quinn will make his debut against the Steelers (2-5) in what should be a straightforward assignment for Philadelphia.

Here are more stories related to the NFL.

 

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