Never in the history of Aaron Rodgers’ starting career in Green Bay have the Packers been double-digit underdogs.
Welcome to 2022.
The Packers, reeling from injuries and what Rodgers calls “so many just mental errors and mistakes," have been installed as 11-point underdogs heading into Sunday night’s game at Buffalo (5-1).
On the injury front, wide receiver Allan Lazard is not expected to play after hearing a “snap, crackle, pop” in his left shoulder when Commanders defensive back Benjamin St-Juste hit him at Washington on Sunday. “The three Rice Crispy men showed up, too,” Lazard joked, trying to make light of the situation.
Then there is David Bakhtiari.
The Packers high-priced left tackle was inactive at Washington, having been a late scratch just the day before.
Bakhtiari characterized his setback as a “blip” this and he has practiced. That’s the good news. The bad news are the continued “blips” that do not seem to have any rhyme or reason as to why they keep happening.
Then there are the much-discussed mental mistakes.
"In the past we’re looking at less than 10%," Rodgers said during his weekly appearance Tuesday on The Pat McAfee Show. "We have to fix that. Whatever that is. Guys who are making too many mistakes shouldn’t be playing. Gotta start cutting some reps. Maybe guys who aren't playing give them a chance."
Rodgers was just warming up.
“There are times to listen and then there are times where you’ve heard enough,” he continued. “And now it's that time to really crack the whip a little bit. Could be that time. Could definitely be that time. Could be time to look for a little more opportunities to crack the whip a little bit."
While such rhetoric does not play with everyone, it does in certain corners of the Packers oval-shaped locker room.
“I’m with Aaron,” wide receiver Sammy Watkins said Wednesday. “If I’m not playing well and I’m freaking up and busting plays, then get me out of the game because that’s not helping the team.”
After Sunday night’s game at Buffalo, the Packers will travel to Detroit to play the last-place Lions. Green Bay and Detroit have split their last ten games played at Ford Field.
Radio coverage on 97.3 The Game begins at 3:00 P.M. on Sunday with Packers Gameday. Kickoff is set for 7:20 from Highmark Stadium.