NFC Championship Game Betting: Can Packers Defend the Frozen Tundra?
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady to be their quarterback, there were tremendous expectations. After all, the team already had more passing yards than any other in 2019. All they needed was a guy at the helm who could cut down turnovers. With Brady, they have him.
And now they are one step from the Super Bowl betting. On Sunday, the Bucs will try to win their second game of the season against the Green Bay Packers.
It will get underway at 3:05 PM ET at Lambeau Field.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Championship Odds
|Buccaneers||+3 (-103)||53½ (-110)||+155|
|Packers||-3 (-117)||53½ (-110)||-180|
The first meeting
Tampa Bay completely dominated the first meeting. The Packers actually got off to a 10-0 lead, but then things imploded. Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. And Green Bay had only 201 total yards. They had to punt on seven of their last eight possessions. The offensive line gave up five sacks.
The Bucs were able to win the game 38-10 despite the fact that Tom Brady had just 166 yards passing. The fact is, they were able to control the game on the ground. Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette combined for 158 yards. Antonio Brown did not play in that game, but Rob Gronkowski had a big game, with five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
What the Packers hope is different
It is relatively easy to explain that Green Bay had to give up on the run rather early. Tampa Bay had a 28-point second quarter against them, so they were playing “catch-up.” It didn’t matter, because Aaron Rodgers was really stifled. Let’s face it – a guy who completed almost 71% of his passes is held to 16 of 35 (45.7%), and that’s a bad day.
Green Bay may be looking for a bit more from Davante Adams, who had six receptions for 61 yards in the first meeting. Maybe the fact that Allan Lizard will play will deflect some of the attention away from Adams.
Aaron Jones had a Pro Bowl season, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and providing a needed diversion. But against the Bucs, he had only 15 yards in ten carries. If Green Bay can run a little, it would help Rodgers with his play-action game. And if you know anything about head coach Matt LaFleur, you know that is something he would really like to establish.
What the Bucs hope is different
Well, probably not a whole lot, except for Brady to be able to be a little more wide-open with his passing attack. Having thrown for 4633 yards in the regular season, which ranked him among the top five in the NFL, he might be justified in that expectation.
Antonio Brown, as we mentioned, wasn’t a Buccaneer in the first meeting. He is now, and has been productive (45 catches). But he is nursing an ankle injury, and has been ruled out of this one.
So that leaves Brady with Gronk and Cameron Brate at tight end, with pretty good wide receivers. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will likely be joined by Tyler Johnson and Scott Miller.
We simply don’t see Tampa Bay being able to register a repeat of the previous meeting. What they were able to do on defense was not something likely to be duplicated. We have too much faith in Aaron Rodgers. And frankly, we have developed a lot of faith in Matt LaFleur.
The weather isn’t going to be Tampa Bay’s best friend either. It’s going to be chilly at the very least. And there might be snow, or the residual effect of it. When Brady was in New England, he was a master at throwing the short passes. With the Bucs, they are going down the field more. That’s the way Bruce Arians plays his offense. Brady throws it for more yardage past the line of scrimmage, per attempt, than any other QB in the league. That’s surprising. That’s also something that isn’t likely to work as well under these conditions. We’re going to lay the points wit Green Bay.
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