Buccaneers game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions. Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
WHEN: January 24, 2021 KICKOFF: 3:05 p.m. ET WHERE: Lambeau Field TV: FOX (Channel 13 locally) PLAY-BY-PLAY: Joe Buck
ANALYST: Troy Aikman SIDELINE: Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi RADIO: 98 ROCK 97.9 FM PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff ANALYST: Dave Moore SIDLINE: T.J. Rives SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 FM PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
Join PR’s Matt Matera on PewterReport.com’s Red Board to talk Bucs football for a live game day chat, starting at noon. on Sunday all the way through to the final whistle. Click the link below to access the Game Day Thread on the Red Board.
Scott Reynolds: Bucs Win, Return Home For Super Bowl LV
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game and then host either the Bills or the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Why will the Bucs win? Three reasons.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
The first reason why the Bucs will prevail is quarterback Tom Brady. He’s been there and done that in conference championships about one hundred times now. Brady knows how to win and the Bucs believe in Brady. The second reason is the sure foot of Ryan Succop. He’s had the best season for any kicker in Tampa Bay history. I have the Bucs winning by three points, courtesy of a Succop field goal. The third reason is because the defense is playing really well right now and has the confidence from last Sunday’s win, in which Todd Bowles’ unit produced four takeaways, coupled with the fact that Tampa Bay’s defense played well against Green Bay in Week 6, sacking Aaron Rodgers five times and intercepting him twice.
There shouldn’t be any fear from the Buccaneers as they head to Lambeau Field for Sunday’s big game in cold and snowy weather. Fore more of my Bucs vs. Packers preview and my 4 Match-ups To Watch for Sunday’s NFC championship game, check out my latest SR’s Fab 5.
Last week I picked the Buccaneers to beat the Saints, but was really uneasy about my prediction. They won. This week I am picking the Bucs to beat the Packers, and I feel pretty comfortable in my pick. Let’s hope they win. This will be just as big of a challenge as last week, but presents more favorable matchups for the Buccaneers, and more paths to victory. With that said, the Packers are here for a reason and also there is a reason they are playing the game at Lambeau Field. They are the best team in the NFC, at least until around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evening and then we find out if that still holds true.
Bucs QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians – Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers’ offense is a better matchup against the defense of the Packers than it was against the Saints. Tampa Bay should be able to hang at least 30 on the Packers, even without the benefit of their defense creating four turnovers. That certainly would help of course, but it isn’t entirely necessary. Even without Antonio Brown, the Bucs offense has too many weapons for the Packers, or really any defense in the NFL, to hold them back if they give quarterback Tom Brady time to throw. Defensively, this matchup will be tougher for Tampa Bay as Aaron Rodgers has no problem with his arm strength in terms of getting the ball down the field. The Bucs will need to play more zone than they did against the Saints, as in the rare games where Rodgers struggles, it usually comes against more zone coverage. Just look at last year’s NFC Championship game against the 49ers, who were in zone coverage 83 percent of the time. That game resulted in a 37-20 San Francisco win and a trip to the Super Bowl. The problem is, the 49ers were able to get presume on Rodgers while playing zone. Can the Buccaneers? They better or Rodgers will pick them clean like a buzzard on a dead raccoon in the road.
As Bruce Arians said this week, they key to winning on the road in the playoffs normally comes down to turnovers. The Packers just don’t turn the ball over very often. If that continues on Sunday, the Bucs offense will need to play a nearly flawless game free of costly penalties and also keeping the ball secure and finish the game turnover free themselves. Some how, some way the Bucs will force one more turnover in the game and that makes the difference. Brady and the offense will hum and the defense will make just enough plays for the Bucs to come out on top and head home to face the Bills or Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Jon Ledyard: After An Incredible Season, Bucs Run Falls Short In Green Bay
The rumors you’ve heard are true: I am picking the Packers to win on Sunday, even though every ounce of my heart is with the Bucs. I simply think Aaron Rodgers and Matt Lafleur are on another level right now, guiding the best offense and the best team in the league into the NFL’s final four. Rodgers has been unstoppable since a Week 6 loss to the Bucs, and all of what Tampa Bay did to thwart him in that game hasn’t shown up as an issue for the soon-to-be MVP since.
Bucs OLB Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
As good as they are, and the Bucs have played their best football when it matters most, the Bucs are still young on defense, especially in the secondary, and I think that gets exposed some in this game. The Packers have so many more schematic answers to defensive pressure packages at this point in the season than they did back in Week 6, and the Bucs haven’t been as good at creating pressure of late. Even if the Bucs offense improves on a dismal showing against the Saints in the divisional playoffs, they would have to play one of their cleanest games of the season to keep pace with Green Bay’s offense.
And that’s definitely possible! With the exception of last week, the Bucs offense has shown a ton of growth lately, and Tom Brady is playing at a high level right now. Can the Bucs playmakers be great, especially without Antonio Brown? They weren’t last week, but the depth players stepped up. Will the Bucs coaching staff call a more pass-heavy, play-action game, even if Green Bay dares them to run? If those two things happen, the Bucs chances of winning will certainly increase, but the Packers ability to do everything at a high level on both sides of the ball might be too much to overcome.
These are two teams that are peaking at the right time in many different areas, which will make this a great game to watch. Both teams have been getting exceptional production on the ground, and we obviously know what quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers can do with all the talent they have at their disposal.
The big news for Tampa Bay is that while Antonio Brown is out, they do get the return of nose tackle Vita Vea. What role he’ll have we don’t know yet, but his presence there can spark the Bucs. The defense played a ton of press-man against the Saints, but I don’t think they can do that all the time against Rodgers. While Carlton Davis III against Davante Adams will be a great match-up, it’s going to be up to the other corners to step up for this game. It won’t be easy to get to Rodgers on Sunday, and if they do, it’ll have to start from up front with Ndamukong Suh forcing Rodgers to the outside so Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul can clean it up.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Green Bay’s defense on the other hand plays a lot of dime package, meaning their will be an opportunity for another big ground game from Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. As much as they’ll run the ball, this game is going to come down to Tom Brady. Losing Brown hurts, but that’s why you brought in so many skilled players for this team. They didn’t have Brown much last week and still came away with a win. I’ve learned many times before that you don’t doubt the GOAT in this situation like these, so it’s Brady on top again as the Bucs win the NFC Championship and play in their own stadium for the Super Bowl.
Taylor Jenkins: Bucs Beat Packers For Super Bowl Berth
The Bucs were able to dominate the Packers in their first meeting of the season, a 38-10 victory back in Week 6, but both teams are very different at this point and Green Bay is playing some of the best football in the league.
Offensively Tampa Bay will have to find a balance. Green Bay’s defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to call a style of defense that covers first and stops the run second, so it will be imperative that the Bucs run the ball well to stay on schedule, take their shots when they’re open and don’t become too reliant on one form of moving down the field than the other. Most importantly the Bucs have to avoid becoming impatient. Don’t be afraid of putting together a 12- or 14-play drive just to move the ball in chunks if the former results in points.
Bucs OLB Jason Pierre-Paul and ILB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Defensively the Bucs will have a much tougher task stopping Rodgers than they did the first time around. Tampa Bay was able to pressure Rodgers with ease in Week 6 but the Packers’ offense has evolved in the quarterback-friendly offense of Matt LeFleur, enhanced by an MVP-caliber quarterback. Tampa Bay must get pressure at key times but it won’t be easy as Green Bay has remained stout in pass protection while the Bucs’ pressure rates have dropped from 40 percent through Week 10 to 32 percent since. They’ll also have to limit damage from All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, in addition to Green Bay’s passing attack through tight end Robert Tonyan and their talented duo in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams out of the backfield, something Tampa Bay has struggled with this season as they allow a league-high 4.2 yards per target to the running back position.
I’ve tossed and turned all week over whether I can confidently pick the Bucs to bounce back against the Packers with another massive, franchise-altering win. I mean, truthfully I didn’t even think that Tampa Bay would topple New Orleans and be here in this moment but they shocked me with a win over the Saints and now I just have to go with my gut.