12 > 12?

Coming off the bye week a year ago the Packer laid their biggest dud of the regular season, a 37-8 ass-whooping from the San Francisco 49ers.  There’s a chance the same could happen, but Rodgers seems too in control and has too good of a rhythm going to be stale-mated for an entire game.  The other “bye” week the Packers had was the Wild Card round in last years’ playoffs and they came out hot vs. Seattle.  They held on late with the defense getting a stop after they showed to be leaking quite a bit of fuel in the 4th quarter and the offense held on to run out the remainder of the clock.  I believe that’ll be more of the Packers team we’ll be treated to come 3:25pm CST Sunday. 

Enter the Tommy Brady Buccaneers.  He’s a shell of his former self, evidenced by only putting up 13 points, at home, in the playoffs…following a week 17 loss to Miami when had he won would’ve secured the 2 seed and a bye.  That’s not the Brady we saw for the previous 18 seasons in New England.  The point to take here is, while TB12 isn’t near his GOAT form, he’s a vast improvement from Jameis Winston.  Couple that with Bruce Ariens and there’s some serious danger there, and if not careful, could hang 40 on a defense.  I don’t fully expect this to be a shootout, if it is…I like the younger QB’s chances, plus he’s playing his best football of his career (winning with ease). 

GB445.5 (2)38.0 (1)353.3 (12)25.3 (17)
TB365.0 (19)27.8 (12)298.2 (2)22.4 (8)

As you can see, Green Bay possesses the best offense in the league, and while they may not have had a true test, they’ve done what they’re supposed to against their opponents.  Tampa Bay holds the 8th best defense (in points), so this could be a solid matchup to watch.  Much has been made about the Bucs’ premier pass-rusher, Shaquil Barrett (#58), whom had a career year last year with 19.5 sacks.  While he’s something to keep an eye on, he shouldn’t pose much of a threat vs. Green Bay’s outstanding offensive line.  It helps to have Rodgers’ fleet-of-foot in the pocket along with his awareness, the OL has been nothing short of amazing in pass protection.  They’ve also done a bang-up job creating running lanes for Aaron Jones and even Jamaal Williams to work with.  The Chargers, led by (somewhat surprising to me) upstart rookie QB Justin Herbert, lit up the Bucs’ D for 31 the other week.  The target for LaFleur and Rodgers should be around or above that number.  The forecast calls for thunderstorms, so holding onto the ball could be the difference, but the Packers (knock on wood) have been solid with their turnover differential as well.

Packers 34
Buccaneers 24

Season: 4-0
Overall: 59-31

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