The latest lines in Las Vegas have the Packers as 3.5 favorites over Tampa Bay in this Sunday’s NFC Championship title game. When scanning the web and watching the national sports shows, the pundits are pretty close to the betting lines.
For the fun of it we went through a number of predictions and collected them here to give readers a sampling of what others around the country are predicting to happen on Sunday between the Buccaneers and Packers as they battle to see who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
“Green Bay made the top-ranked Rams defense look ordinary last week. I think they will continue that here as well. Rodgers is playing the best football of his career. The Bucs were improved on offense last week because they ran the ball. That will have to play out in this one as well. They have to control the football. Brady will challenge down the field, but without the run game it might be a lot tougher against that Green Bay pass rush. In the end, I think Rodgers is playing too well. It will be close for a bit, but Green Bay will win by a touchdown to get to the Super Bowl.”
“The Packers are steady enough on defense, though they can be vulnerable against the run. They play such precise football, yet with imagination, a difficult blend. It’s going to be cold but probably not frigid at Lambeau Field, not that Brady and Rob Gronkowski will be uncomfortable. And the Bucs have won a franchise-record seven consecutive road games, including playoff wins at Washington and New Orleans. Will they head back to Tampa to appear in a Super Bowl at their home stadium, an NFL first?”
“The Packers fought hard to secure home field advantage throughout the N.F.C. playoffs, and this game should reward them for that effort, ending the Buccaneers’ attempt to be the first team to appear in a Super Bowl in its home stadium.”
“This game will be an instant classic with Brady and Rodgers having an epic duel. This game will come down to whichever team has the ball last. With 10 meetings, Green Bay and Tampa Bay would each win five. When Brady is involved in games like these and playing this well, it’s hard to go against the six-ringed GOAT, even with a three-time MVP to be on the other side. The coin flip lands on Tampa over Green Bay this time.”
“Something happened to Tampa Bay’s defense in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Saints. If that someone can continue in Green Bay, the Bucs will be headed to the Super Bowl. The challenge for the team that falls behind early in this one will be to not let pessimism creep in, especially when it will be tempting to wish for a quit exit from the cold temperatures. That’s why it will be more critical then ever for the Buccaneers to avoid stumbling out of the gates — which they did all too often during the season, including against the Packers. Then, a 10-0 hole became a 38-10 win. Now, it won’t be quite so easy.”
“When these teams met in the regular season, it was a one-sided beatdown, with the Bucs winning 38-10. I don’t think that game has much bearing on this one, though. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to get shut down by the Tampa Bay defense the way he did that way, nor is the Packers’ defense going to have as bad a game as it did. I see this as a close and competitive game that could go either way, but in the end I like Rodgers to make one more play than Tom Brady in the fourth quarter.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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