Green Bay Packers v. Bucs: 2 Quick NFC Championship Predictions

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs on the field before the 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Packers Rams 04827
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs on the field before the 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Packers Rams 04827 /

Over the last week, we’ve written a lot of articles, we’ve done a lot of reading, and we’ve listed to a number of different podcasts and shows about this NFC Championship matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And I’m going to assume that for the most part, you’ve done the same. So in these intros prior to predictions, I usually touch on the matchup a little, perhaps look at the injury reports, or address a few other items. But not today. Today is finally, and I mean finally game day. It’s win or go home with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

So as you await for 2:05 central time to arrive, here are two quick predictions for how today’s game will play out. And if you have time to catch up on some other reading, here are a few other articles from this past week to look at:

Kevin King Misses Friday’s Practice

Vita Vea is Back for the Bucs but Antonio Brown is Out

Packers v. Bucs: Behind Enemy Lines

5 Key Questions Prior to NFC Championship Game

3 Key X-Factors 

5 Things that went Wrong in Week 6

Green Bay Packers v. Buccaneers Predictions

Matt LeVene

In the biggest game of the year so far, the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is filled with intrigue. The two starting quarterbacks need no introduction, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are sure-fire Hall of Famers and two of the greatest signal callers of all time.

In their second head-to-head contest of the season, I fully expect Rodgers to outplay the other number 12 on the field. Rodgers has had a historically great season, yet he had his worst game of the year against the stout Tampa defense. Look for Green Bay to get Rodgers going early and to expose the holes in the Bucs defense. At the end of the day, AR12 has to play better than the last time these two teams met if the Packers want to advance to Super Bowl 55.

One key to this is getting Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams involved early in the game. A strong running game that can subdue the relentless front seven of the Bucs will be essential for the Packers. I predict Aaron Rodgers finds the endzone on a rushing score that is eerily similar to his run against Chicago in the 2010 NFC Championship game (and a Belt celebration to follow).

Defensively, the key to containing Tom Brady and his receiving arsenal is limiting their success in the run game. The tandem of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette features two premier backs in the league who have the potential to take over games. Krys Barnes, Christian Kirksey, Kenny Clark, and the rest of the Packers’ front seven must come ready to play. With the horrors of last year’s defensive debacle fresh in the minds of Packers fans everywhere, Mike Pettine’s group has to be ready to stop everything Tampa Bay throws their way.

Jaire Alexander will in all likelihood shut down one half of the field, as he has all season. The other members of the Green Bay secondary need to play well against the slew of All-Pro level talent the Bucs will throw at them. I predict Za’Darius Smith gets real familiar with Brady and finishes the game with two sacks.

Prediction: Packers 31 – Bucs 21

Paul Bretl

This isn’t ground-breaking analysis of this game by any means, but for me, this game is going to come down to the trenches. Which team can pressure the quarterback the best? The Green Bay Packers’ offensive line was eaten up by various blitzes in Week 6 and the offense suffered greatly. Since then, they’ve proven that that performance was a fluke as they’ve been the best OL unit in the game, but they should be prepared for another heavy dose of blitzes.

On the other side of the ball, Green Bay needs to pressure Brady, something they didn’t do the first time around. When under pressure, every quarterback’s stats decline, but Brady’s fall off a cliff. Now, that’s certainly not an easy thing to do because he gets the ball out so quickly, so Mike Pettine will have to make sure those “easy” completions aren’t so easy and give his defensive front that extra split second to get to the quarterback.

A few other key items to keep your eyes on include the Tampa run game, as I expect plenty of Fournette and Jones today. Will the Packers be able to establish and stick to the run against this time against a stout defensive front? And, of course, the turnover battle.

Lastly, I wanted to touch on something that you’ve probably already heard, but I think it’s important. The Week 6 outcome has no bearing on this game whatsoever. Green Bay proved over the rest of the season that that game was an anomaly. Not the other way around. And the Bucs are a perfect example of this as they lost both regular-season games to New Orleans — including a 38-3 loss at home — before beating them on the road in the Divisional Round a week ago.

The Green Bay Packers have the most productive offense in the NFL, the defense has been playing very well over the last six weeks, the game is at Lambeau Field, and to me at least, something just feels different about this year’s team. Packers win.

Prediction: Packers 31 – Bucs 27