We are past the Divisional Round and have arrived at Championship Sunday.
We’re looking at each matchup and diving into the history between the teams, the keys to victory for each side and a prediction on how we think it will play out.
In this preview, we’re looking at The Battle of the Bays between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers.
The Buccaneers pummeled the Packers 38-10 in Week 6 of the season. Green Bay raced out to a 10-0 lead, but Aaron Rodgers threw interceptions on the Packers’ next two drives. One was returned for a touchdown, and the other to the Green Bay 2-yard-line which set up an easy score for Ronald Jones II.
From there, the blowout was in full effect. A main factor for Tampa’s ability to pull away was their ground game as Jones II ran for 113 yards and two scores. The Bucs defense also did what few have been able to do over the last 10+ years by making Rodgers look ordinary. Tampa Bay intercepted him twice (which was 40% of Rodgers’ total INT for the season, and the only INT he had vs. NFC teams) and sacked him four times (20% of the times Rodgers hit the ground in 2020).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Keys to Victory: Ride the Brady Magic
This is why Tampa Bay signing a 43-year-old quarterback was still the biggest move of the offseason. While it will be Tom Brady’s first NFC Championship Game, Brady has played on this weekend in 14 of his 20 seasons as a starter. That’s pretty good.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been a team for 45 seasons. This will be their fourth trip to Championship Sunday.
This is what Brady offers a team. Anything is possible with him under center. Including leading what has been considered a laughingstock franchise to the precipice of the biggest game of the year.
Did Brady’s play win the Saints game? No. But it doesn’t matter. Having Tom Brady as their quarterback makes this defense think they can do whatever it takes to win. And for a team whose philosophy is “No risk it, no bisquit.” having that type of confidence and swagger can make all the difference.
Green Bay Packers Keys to Victory: Eat Up the Home Cooking
A big thing to remember about the Week 6 game between these two teams is it was played in Tampa Bay. In 99 career road games, Rodgers is 51-48 with 194 TD and 52 INT.
At home? He’s 78-19-1 with 218 TD and 37 INT. Now most players fare better in their home stadium, but this is an extreme.
In seven playoff games at Lambeau Field, Rodgers is 5-2 with a 15 TDs and 1 INT. That lone interception occurred on January 15th, 2012. To repeat, Aaron Rodgers has not thrown an interception in a playoff game in Green Bay in over nine years.
The temperature of the game is set to be <20 degrees and the Packer players should be far more prepared for this than their opponent. Tampa Bay obviously plays their home games in Florida and have only played two games all season below 40 degrees.
Prediction: It Was Nice While It Lasted For Tompa Bay
This has been a special season for Bucs fans and there haven’t been too many of those in the Tampa history. But if you look at their two playoff wins, something just seems off. They needed to stop a potential game-tying drive led by a quarterback in his second career start to secure their Wild Card win vs. Washington. The Bucs defense made the plays they needed to vs. New Orleans, but that game was very close to going the other way despite Drew Brees averaging only seven yards per completion.
The point is the Bucs are set to play by far the best quarterback they have faced in the playoffs. And this game will be in Green Bay where Aaron Rodgers has been nearly perfect in the postseason for close to a decade. Brady and the Bucs have accomplished more than most thought they could this year, but the ride is going to come to an end in Lambeau this week.
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