When Tom Brady’s Buccaneers journey to play Aaron Rodgers’ Packers (-3.5, 51 o/u) in Sunday’s NFC championship sport (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox), it does not get extra marquee than that.
Brady is enjoying in his 14th convention title sport after making 13 such AFC appearances with the Patriots. He’s searching for a shot at his seventh Tremendous Bowl ring in Tremendous Bowl 55. In the meantime, Rodgers is enjoying at house with a Tremendous Bowl on the road for the primary time in Lambeau Discipline, 10 years after he led the Packers on a profitable Tremendous Bowl 45 run as an NFC wild-card staff.
The Bucs are additionally making an attempt to get the glory as a wild card. The Packers have been the very best staff record-wise wire-to-wire within the NFC with the league’s highest-scoring offense that ought to return Rodgers to NFL MVP standing.
Who will win this battle of No. 12s, No. 1 seed vs. No. 5 seed? Utilizing some key numbers, this is a deep dive into the matchup between Tampa bay and Inexperienced Bay, a rematch of a Week 6 sport that the Buccaneers gained at house, 38-10.
Packers vs. Buccaneers picks, predictions
- Buccaneers working sport vs. Packers run protection
The Buccaneers can get too downfield pass-happy below Arians as Brady additionally likes taking his photographs in opposition to one-on-one protection. They will get enamored by Brady’s myriad of receiving weapons at wideout and tight finish the place they will go away from energy soccer even when it is proper there for the taking.
Tampa Bay ended up with the No. 28 speeding offense within the common season. The Packers, regardless of a number of hiccups, ended up within the prime half, No. 13 in opposition to the run — tied to many groups needing to throw typically making an attempt to play catchup with Rodgers within the second half.
The Rams gashed the Packers nicely with rookie Cam Akers, earlier than sport script pressured them to go away from the run within the second half. The Buccaneers dropped 30 carries in a break up between Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones to pile up 127 yards on Saints run protection. They caught with it till they acquired key second-half chunks and Fournette additionally was a drive within the quick passing sport.
Within the first assembly, the Bucs properly featured Jones (23 carries, 113 of his staff’s 158 speeding yards, 2 TDs) as they gained going away 38-10 after recognizing the Packers a 10-point lead within the first quarter. Ought to the Bucs keep dedicated to the run once more, as they need to to work the clock and attempt to restrict alternatives for Rodgers to reply Brady, they are going to have a one other strong floor sport with their offensive line enjoying stout. Benefit: Buccaneers
- Packers working sport vs. Buccaneers run protection
The Packers pounded nicely on the Rams with their No. 8 speeding assault, getting to almost 200 yards with principally pending free brokers Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams pushing by way of. The Buccaneers top-ranked run protection had some points with the Saints’ Alvin Kamara, however total contained a really robust energy working sport.
The Bucs merely do not spring many leaks up entrance and are all-around far more sound than the Rams have been in that capability. They would favor to not commit an additional defender to run help so defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is not handcuffed together with his back-seven blitzes. Apart from a pair lengthy runs from Williams and rookie A.J. Dillon, there wasn’t a lot room for them or Aaron Jones. The Bucs ought to be assured they at can least hold the Packers one-dimensional to present Bowles a greater thought of learn how to stress Rodgers. Benefit: Buccaneers
- Buccaneers passing sport vs. Packers move protection
The Buccaneers have been No. 2 within the NFL in passing, sandwiched between the AFC finalist Chiefs and Payments. They’ve trusted Brady loads with excessive quantity and throwing downfield typically, as a result of it’s Bruce Arians in spite of everything. The Packers have been No. 7 in opposition to the move, with a mix of “The Smith Brothers” (Preston and Za’Darius) placing some edge stress and Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos main a positive seconary.
Brady leaned on the run nicely in Week 6, did not maintain the ball lengthy and was calculated in principally spreading the ball round on short-to-intermediate routes. He ought to have.a number of photographs develop off play-action. The Packers do agood job of masking tight ends and Alexander may as soon as once more decelerate Mike Evans. However the Bucs can scheme to get slot Chris Godwin and their different vast receivers open away from Alexander. Benefit: Buccaneers
- Packers passing sport vs. Buccaneers move protection
The Packers had the No. 9 passing assault throughout the common season. Rodgers may have thrown for lots extra to pad his already MVP-worthy stats, however the Packers have been accountable for many matchups within the second half, turning video games over to efficient working and move protection. The Buccaneers have good younger defensive backs, led by nook Carlton Davis and rookie security Antoine Winfield Jr. In addition they have two savvier 3-4 edge rushers for Bowles in Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquill Barrett.
However typically there”s a disconnect and the Buccaneers have been extra weak to some chunk performs, both after the catch on the second stage or because of a breakdowns downfield. The Packers labored to get Davante Adams open in key spots away from the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey and can do the identical in opposition to Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean. The Bucs want linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David to have one other good protection sport after they dominated in opposition to the Saints.
Nonetheless Rodgers, will discover the holes, take benefit at any time when the lapses occur and settle into a number of matchups he likes. Rodgers will likely be motivated to make up for his shaky Week 6 in Tampa Bay and can keep on level in a high-level locked-in QB duel with Brady. Benefit: Packers
The Packers and Bucs have some ancillary gamers within the passing sport who may shock to spice up Brady and Rodgers with massive performs. The Packers noticed vast receivers Allen Lazard and Equanimeous St. Brown have massive moments in opposition to the Rams. The Bucs would not have overwhelmed the Saints with out clutch catches from Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and No. 2 tight finish Cameron Brate. The working backs additionally will be key on checkdowns with the defenses worrying about all the opposite items. Benefit: Packers
- Particular groups
The sphere-goal video games are fairly even with the Packers’ Mason Crosby and the Buccaneers’ Ryan Succop, though they’re extra recognized for accuracy than vary. The Packers have had a notoriously dangerous return sport this season whereas the Bucs aren’t that significantly better. The Packers’ J.Okay. Scott and the Buccaneers’ Bradley Pinion make this shut in punting. The Bucs struggled in protection in opposition to the Saints and it practically price them. Give the emotional and familiarity edge to the Lambeau staff, too. Benefit: Packers
Arians has gained lot of video games with totally different groups at age 68. Matt LaFleur, 27 years his junior at 41, has developed his personal popularity as one of many sport’s sharpest offensive minds and in two years main Inexperienced Bay, he is completed good situational work with none egregious errors. Arians’ groups can are inclined to get undisciplined at instances and between him, Byron Leftwich and Bowles, they will get too aggressive on the incorrect instances. Benefit: Packers
Brady desires to show he can get to a Tremendous Bowl with out Invoice Belichick and the Patriots. Rodgers, after the staff drafted Jordan Love, has used that newest chip on his shoulder to have one among his best seasons, too. The Bucs additionally know they are often the primary staff to play within the Tremendous Bowl of their house stadium. There will likely be no lack of depth on both facet. Brady has completed this typically, however his Bucs are new to this stage. However the Packers are also restricted in massive profitable expertise round Rodgers. Benefit: Buccaneers
NFC championship sport prediction
This sport will likely be an immediate basic with Brady and Rodgers having an epic duel. This sport will come all the way down to whichever staff has the ball final. With 10 conferences, Inexperienced Bay and Tampa Bay would every win 5. When Brady is concerned in video games like these and enjoying this nicely, it is exhausting to go in opposition to the six-ringed GOAT, even with a three-time MVP to be on the opposite facet. The coin flip lands on Tampa over Inexperienced Bay this time.
Buccaneers 30, Packers 27