The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to get their third straight road playoff win Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The two best teams in the NFC will meet up with the winner, advancing to Super Bowl 55 in Tampa.
This is the second meeting of these two teams this season and their first meeting in the playoffs. The Bucs gave the Packers their worst loss of the season in a 38-10 loss in Tampa during week six.
This is just the fourth meeting between these two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and their first meeting in the playoffs. Tom Brady holds a 2-1 lead over Aaron Rodgers.
Many people are surprised the Buccaneers are still playing. A lot of the football experts had them losing to Washington in the first round. Then, the shock continued last week as the Bucs beat the Saints 30-20 on the road.
Outside of Tampa, there are not many football fans who think the Bucs can beat the Packers. Here are five things the Bucs must do in this game to beat the Packers:
1. The Bucs need to run the ball effectively
Tampa Bay is averaging 127 yards a game on the ground in the playoffs with Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. The Bucs will need to maintain that production to keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packer’s offense off the field.
Last week in New Orleans, the Bucs ran 32 times while passing 33. It will take this kind of offensive balance to win in Green Bay.
2. Offensive line must keep Brady upright
The Bucs offensive line is playing their best football of the season. Aaron Stinnie has done a great job in place of Alex Cappa, while left tackle Donavan Smith has played his best two games as a Buccaneer the last two weeks. This line needs to have another great game to keep Rashan Gary and Za’Darius Smith from wreaking havoc in the backfield.
3. Slow down the Packers’ run game
Aaron Jones had ten carries for 15 yards, while Jamal Williams added 35 yards on five carries in the first game against the Buccaneers. The Bucs will need to have that same kind of effort to slow down the Packer’s Run game. The Packers ran for 188 yards last week in their win against the Rams. Jones ran for 99 yards and one touchdown while Williams added 65 yards as the packers averaged 5.2 yards per carry in the 32-18 win.
The Bucs linebackers will need to bring their A-game to slow down this Packers rushing attack. Look for Devon White and Lavonte David to have a big game against the Packers.
4. Bucs must contain Davante Adams
Carlton Davis will be the man on Adams most of the time when the Bucs are in man coverage. Last week, Davis held Saints receiver, Michael Thomas, without a catch for the first time in his career. Davis also leads the Bucs defense with four interceptions.
Carlton Davis, Antoine Winfield Jr, Sean Murphy Bunting, and the Bucs secondary will need another great effort to keep Adams in check.
5. Bucs wide receivers must step up
Wide Receiver Antonio Brown will be inactive for this game. That leaves Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson with a great opportunity to step and make some plays.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will get most of the attention from the Packer defense. But if that defense sleeps on Johnson, Miller, Cam Brate, and Rob Gronkowski, it will be a difficult afternoon for the Packer’s secondary.
Green Bay is favored by 3.5 points against Tampa Bay. Both the Bucs and the Packers are playing their best football of the season. Tampa has the number one offense in the playoffs averaging 411 yards a game. The Bucs run defense has been number one all season.
I’ll take the GOAT over the discount double-check. Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win this game 28-25 and move on to play in Super Bowl 55 in Tampa.