Hello Wisconsin: The Packers are the League’s Best Team. Now it’s Time to Prove It

There's not a more well-rounded team in the league than the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers are one home victory away from a Super Bowl berth.

All it takes is getting past Tom Brady and the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who spanked them in Florida earlier this season.

But that game is ancient history. Nothing that happened in October matters any more. Both of these teams are quite difference, and since then, the Packers have turned into the best team in football. And if not the best, certainly the most well-rounded.

There was not another team in the playoffs that could match the Packers’ overall quality in the running game, passing game, run defense and pass defense. Special teams aside, this Packers team is the highest quality team the Packers have fielded in quite some time, and should be considered the favorite against any team it plays.

You have a legendary MVP quarterback at the top of his game. A young, ascending coach who’s setting records two years into his tenure and has already made two championship games. A defense that continues to limit points scored by the opposition, even against very good offenses. An offense that just absolutely dominated the top defense in the league.

This isn’t a team without weaknesses. But it is a team without very many of them. 

At the beginning of this season in this very column, I predicted the Packers would make a return trip to the NFC Championship, and anything after that would be gravy.

But at this point, anything less than a Super Bowl championship would have to be a disappointment, given the quality of this team and the opportunity in front of it. 

The Packers will never have a better opportunity than now to win a title. The shrinking salary cap and contract issues for the 2021 season will make this a very different-looking team. 

This is the best team in the National Football League.

They take the next step in proving it this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Fans make such a difference

Who knew 9,000 people could make so much noise?

What a difference it made to have fans in the stands again against the Rams. Aaron Rodgers made several comments in the postgame and in his interview on the Pat McAfee Show about how great it was to have fans in the stands again, and you could see how much energy it fed to the players. Robert Tonyan looked like he was about to burst on several occasions. 

In what’s been a really strange season of football, the lack of fans in the stands has been the strangest thing of all, especially at Lambeau FIeld. It would have been such a shame if the Packers’ march to a Super Bowl didn’t happen in front of spectators, especially now that the team is FINALLY hosting an NFC Championship game. 

If you’re going this weekend, GET LOUD!

Cross your fingers for LeRoy Butler

Earlier this week, ballots were cast for the next inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is the second year in a row Butler has been a finalist, and I’m hoping it means the Hall is preparing to correct a years-long wrong in excluding him.

The Class of 2021 will be revealed during the NFL Honors night the night before the Super Bowl, on Saturday, February 6. Mark that date on your calendars and keep your fingers crossed for a great man who should’ve been inducted years ago.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

If you’ve been following along on this series throughout the season, or if you follow myself or Corey Behnke on Twitter, you’re probably familiar with Untitled Art beer by now. Pretty much everything they make is delicious, and they do everything from your standard flagship styles to experimental flavors and styles.

This week’s selection is the brewery’s Sweet and Sour Grapefruit IPA. It takes the Grapefruit IPA style you might be familiar with and cranks it up to an 11 in terms of the juice and punch. 

Many grapefruit IPAs have the hoppy IPA flavor with a hint of grapefruit, and very closely resemble standard IPAs in terms of color and clarity. But this one looks and tastes like straight up juice, with a consistency to match. “Sweet and sour” is perfectly accurate--there’s a lot of sweetness of flavor, but it finishes with a sour grapefruit note.

This is a great morning beer, or a beer for relaxing and sipping. At 7 percent ABV it’s not too alcoholic, but the fullness and sweetness of this one means you’re probably only going to want to drink one, and take your time with it.

You can find Untitled Art beers in most liquor stores and in many grocery stores in Wisconsin.

It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to show up for a championship game

This is the fifth championship game appearance in Aaron Rodgers’ career. He has played poorly in every single one leading up to this weekend.

He was carried by his defense in Chicago. Shut down by the Legion of Boom in Seattle. Ran out of the building by an offensive firepower in Atlanta that had the team in a disadvantage from the get go. Embarrassed in San Francisco.

Rodgers has never once played well in a championship game. But he’s also never gotten to play one at home. 

You know Rodgers has that on his mind this week. And you know that he’s looking to get some retribution after an embarrassing visit to Tampa earlier this season. Getting to knock Tom Brady out of the postseason is only the icing on the cake.

There’s nobody with more pressure on them to perform this weekend than Rodgers, and nobody who I’m more confident in doing so.

Will Tom Brady shake hands when the Bucs lose?

Tom Brady is historically a very sore loser after heartbreaking losses. When the Packers win this weekend, I’ll be interested to see if Brady sticks around to give any parting words to Rodgers.

I have a hard time believing Brady would have been quite so chummy with Drew Brees this past week, had the Bucs been on the losing end. 

I’m not even someone who hates or even dislikes Tom Brady. I have tremendous appreciation for his greatness. But there’s no denying he’s a sore loser. I’ll be curious to see what happens.

Props to the Packers’ offensive line

I don’t think it’s possible to give the Packers’ offensive line enough love for its performance throughout the season.

Aaron Rodgers has been left remarkably untouched and unpressured for much of the season. Despite injuries and shifting positions, the line has remained among the league leaders in both pass block and run block win rates.

The unit’s performance on Saturday was particularly special.

Aaron Donald may not have been at 100 percent, but I’ll take even a 50 percent Aaron Donald over many defenders in the NFL. Donald was an absolute non-factor on Saturday, and the only moment where he caught the attention of the broadcast on the field was when he let his frustration get the better of him after being stonewalled by Packers’ phenom utility lineman Elgton Jenkins. 

Jenkins and Corey Linsley put together a fantastic day on Saturday. Really, the entire line did. You can’t say enough about the job Billy Turner has been doing filling in for David Bakhtiari, or that veteran Rick Wagner has done stepping in when needed throughout the season. 

The running game was fantastic against Los Angeles, largely due to the offensive line completely dominating the trenches. How many short-yardage conversations did we see running backs pick up? How about that long Aaron Jones run where Linsley and Lucas Patrick parted a massive hole for Jones to burst through?

It hasn’t mattered what configuration this line takes throughout the season--these guys just perform. 

They’ll need to do it again against another tough defense on Sunday.

Remembering my first Packers NFC Championship experience

I was fondly reminiscing over the weekend about my very first experience watching the Packers in the NFC Championship game, during the 1996-97 season.

I was in third grade at the time. I specifically remember the Panthers driving down the field and notching the first points of the game. I remember yelling out something like “What the HELL are they doing?!”

It was the first time I’d ever said anything resembling a swear in front of my parents. I immediately got a time out, and was threatened with not being able to watch the rest of the game. But I think my dad was the one who softened up.

Dorsey Levens had a hell of a ballgame that day, running all over the Panthers and even catching a contested touchdown on a long pass by Brett Favre to the corner of the endzone. Then you had the classic radio call for the game-sealing touchdown, “He WALKS in! Edgar Bennett, with a hole on the right side that you could drive a truck to the Super Bowl through!’

There was some magic to that game. As a nine-year-old, of course, I had no context for how long adult Packer fans had been waiting for that moment. But when you’re that young, it doesn’t matter--seeing your team win that kind of game, and knowing they’re going to the Super Bowl… that’s the biggest thing in the world to a kid who’s that football obsessed.

After the game, I remember running around the house and the yard playing football with my little brother, and my mom talking to a friend one the phone about how they couldn’t believe the Packers were Super Bowl bound.

My own sons aren’t old enough to comprehend the sport yet, but I hope they get to have that same sort of memory of their own someday.

NFC Championship Quick Forecast

Ok, enough talking. Who wins this weekend and how?

If you’ve been paying attention to my writing this year, you know how I feel about this team. This has had the feel of a Super Bowl caliber team for most of the year, but especially in the last two months. There’s not a more well-rounded team in football.

If the Packers don’t turn the ball over, they’ll win without much drama. The Buccaneers have a lot of offensive weapons, but they’re incredibly inconsistent. People bring up Tom Brady’s record in the cold and snow, but forget that the last time we saw him play a postseason game in the cold in New England, he withered away. 

The Packers need to get their ground game going, and avoid all of the side-to-side stretch plays. They got crushed in October. Run up the middle and take it right to that defense. Wear them down and open up space for play action.

The Packers are the better team. They just need to play like it. 

And they will.

Packers 31, Buccaneers 20, and a berth in Super Bowl LV

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (56)

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 06:27 am

“There was not another team in the playoffs that could match the Packers’ overall quality in the running game, passing game, run defense and pass defense. “

I’d say Tampa Bay matches up very closely. If we were fans of the Bucs a similar statement could be made. There are different strengths and weaknesses, but very similar in overal talent.

Three big differences that I see and could make the difference for the Packers to get a win.
1. Aaron Rodgers MVP season
2. Packers have edge in turnover differential
3. Home field

On the other side, I would say Tampa opportunistic defense in getting TO’s. My thoughts are the team who wins the TO battle wins this game.

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fastmoving's picture

January 21, 2021 at 06:41 am

.....like most of the time.
If Tampa was not so lucky and got only 2 TO against Brees, they would have lost that game. Even with the TO battle win.
So they are not that good, but its one game so anything can happen. Luck is a big, if not the biggest part of it. But as the better team, we need a little bit less luck to win it.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:19 am

TB scored 38+ points 6 times and have the 5th most takeaways this year. Luck might come into any given game, but there isn’t any luck involved in being in the position they are in today. It takes talent, execution, preparation and coaching. By YPG, GB#1 and Tampa #3 Offense. On defense GB is #13 and TB is #7. This will be a dog fight and I like our chances because of HOmefield and Arod playing some of his best football of his career.

Packers are 11-0 when they win the TO battle. Because either team seems to be able to score often, getting extra possessions, especially if they are on a short field, will be paramount.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:23 am

One more point on turnovers. In Tom Brady’s career when his team wins the turnover battle he is 18-0 in the playoffs. It is THE most important stat in this game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:31 am

Evans and the WRs are solid, Gronk for the big play veteran, very balanced defense with a strong secondary.
This game is about who wants it more. It will take another dominant effort by the O line and Pettine has to be aggressive. There should be more blitzes this weekend.

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dobber's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:58 am

"If Tampa was not so lucky and got only 2 TO against Brees, they would have lost that game. Even with the TO battle win."

But they did get the TOs. That's all that matters.

"So they are not that good..."

I would adjust that to say that they weren't on Sunday. The Saints D played well enough to win. That's a good defense. The offense didn't hold up their end.

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Coldworld's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:31 am

Neither offense impressed in that game and we saw an injured and diminished Brees exposed. While one can’t fault the TB defense, to look at it without the context of Brees is equally deceiving.

In some ways, one can find parallels in that game with that of the Packers against Tampa earlier this season. NO started out strong, faltered and put their O in a position that played to its weaknesses. One also has to remember that these teams know each other well, which tends to confuse things.

Tampa isn’t as good as some here fear. Brady is not without weaknesses and their O is less stellar than its sometimes being depicted if you look at what it has actually done and against whom.

This is going to come down to whether GB can disrupt on D while stopping the run and stop the short passes dead. Similar to Tennessee in that Fournette will attack the line and in the short passing game. We need to take a physical game straight at their ILBs
And give Rodgers enough time to hit receivers beyond the flat.

Lazard, Dillon and Dafney were not part of the Tampa game. They are all players that could bring valuable capabilities to challenge Tampa. In addition, MVS has become more diverse in his usage and LaFleur has had time to examine the trap he fell into and keep the running game integral and focused between the tackles.

That leaves the D. It is better now from a player perspective, how much depends on how Pettine deploys it. More Tennessee than Rams and I think we will surprise them.

As to ST, outside of Crosby, either team could lose because of their ST play. We saw how bad Tampa’s coverage was before they lost their returner and perhaps most dangerous offensive playmaker outside of their RB. Let’s hope our ST is the least bad on the day.

To me the crucial questions are how will Pettine approach Tampa and how good is LaFleur’s offensive plan. If we aren’t out thought, I think overall we should win regardless of home advantage. If I had to pick one key player (not Rodgers), it would be Kenny Clark. Penetrate the middle regularly and disrupt Brady. More important than sacks by far against him,

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:33 am

"Tampa isn’t as good as some here fear".

Definitely, valid arguments can be made they are that good. They are about the same in scoring and by stats a better D. They beat us handily. They are #3 and we are #1 in point differential. You can cherry pick stats all you want, but the reality is they are a very good team and one to be concerned about.

That said, I feel good about us beating them and I do believe home field with 9000 fans will make a difference in the outcome. My friend was at the game Saturday and he said it was very loud. If the team needs a lil extra boost during the game, those fans might give that extra bit of energy to make something big happen.

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dobber's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:47 am

I think we have glass half full/half empty folks who see positive matchups and negative matchups, respectively.

The bottom line is that bad teams typically don't make it to the NFCCG. You might have teams that didn't play well at times during the regular season, but they're probably playing well now...which is what matters.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:26 am

This isn't a glass half full vs empty debate. If you follow me at all you will notice my points are on the half full side. Why is making objective statements being half empty?

The bottom line is Tampa is a very good team and you don't think the team should be feared.
You don't show stats to back up your subjective statements. My objective statements have stats. Obviously, Vegas doesn't agree with your subjective statements since the spread is around 3 points. The likelihood of Packers winning is a slight edge. I'll be betting on the Packers to win by more then 3 because as you, I think they will win.....but, that is subjective:)

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CoachDino's picture

January 21, 2021 at 04:04 pm

Fun conversation. The old both right debate.

Fear is subjective so it's hard to quantify if something should be feared.

The packers did end up with the better record beat the teams Tampa lost to (bears twice) less KC. Tampa beat the Packers which kinda trumps all.

IMO packer confidence comes to those who believe this is not the same team Tampa beat in Week 6. Between the Players who didn't play, were hurt in the game and were not 100%. Then improvement in execution and the corrections to the issues exposed in that game. You have them all registering quantitative backed improvements, Blitz pickups, Performance against the Blitz, Turnovers, run defense that all point the Packers way as far as it being corrected when looking at the facts..

It's just not the same team but then again the other side that can not be ignored. They did play each other, it's the #1 determination of outcomes and Tampa won.

IMO if both teams play a good game GB should win but it could be a blow out either way or a close game either way...It's why we love the game and why they have to play it to find out who best...

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Oppy's picture

January 22, 2021 at 04:55 pm

Tampa bay Buccaneers didn't beat us handily last time, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers OL beat us handily last time.

This game isn't going to be nearly as close as most seem to think it will be. Rodgers isn't going to hand the Bucs 14 points this time; LeFleur isn't going to attempt to push the RBs out to the edges this time; the OL isn't going to be a sieve this time.

Packers win by 2 scores... and it's not going to be a shootout.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:34 am

I have to correct myself on number two. Actually, TB has the edge on turnovers at +8. We're at +7.

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Razer's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:35 am

...I’d say Tampa Bay matches up very closely...

This is very true and, with Brady at the helm, they are every bit as good. I would have much rather faced the Saints in the cold than this team.

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dobber's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:51 am

Brady has very good skill position guys to throw to: Godwin, Brown, Evans, Gronk, Brate. Jones is a capable back, and the offensive line is good. That said, the eye test over his last couple years in NE showed that Brady isn't who he once was.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:55 am

Brady isn't, I'd agree, but if he has the time, he can dice up a secondary at a high level. We need to pressure him throughout the game and make him throw some INT's, which he is very capable of.

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jlc1's picture

January 22, 2021 at 01:07 pm

I dare him to throw at Jaire.

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NickPerry's picture

January 21, 2021 at 06:44 am

Tim and I agree on one point...Run the ball up the middle. Run AT White and David in the middle, not away from them. No matter how great Jenkins and Patrick have played, it's tough for either to beat those ILB for the Bucs to get them blocked on outside runs. But most of all STICK with the running game. I really hope Dillon can play too. That 3 headed monster will be needed, especially in the snow!

Lazard didn't play week 6, Adams was just coming back. Both are healthy now and that's a HUGE difference in both the passing game and the running game. Lazard is just GREAT with his blocking and plays his role on this offense to perfection. I don't worry about him dropping too many balls like last week either, Lazard has pretty damn good hands. Adams is going to spank the hell out of this secondary. 11 catches for 153 and 2 TD's...WATCH!

This defense is different, much different from week 6. Savage and Amos are playing better than ANY safety tandem in the NFL right now and have been for a while according to PFF. Rashawn Gary has been on a mission these last 4 weeks or so. I saw something on another site he was PFF HIGHEST RATED OLB the last 4 weeks (maybe 3 weeks) in the NFL. Watching him walk Havenstien and Whitworth into Goff's lap time and again last week was awesome.

Rodgers is playing on a different level right now and I KNOW he's reminded his teammates all week what Devin White said after they beat them in week 6. White said, "These guys don't belong on the field with us". If I was on the Packers staff, I would BLOW UP a picture of White with that printed on the bottom of the picture and post it all over the locker room. F### Devin White. Make him eat those words and remind him on every play you DO belong on the field while you knock him on his ass!

Last week I said the Packers would win 32-16... I was close, that 2 Pt. conversion close. I said to Tim last week we shared the same opinion...Neither of us thought that game would be close AND neither of us do this time either...Packers win 34-17...

#8 Quarters
#F### Devin White!

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dobber's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:06 am

If you go back to the loss in Tampa, the Bucs opened in zone and let the Packers march down the field twice and score 10 points. Then they switched up, played more press and man, and started sending extra rushers...especially up the gut. This is what they did to the Saints--who have a good OL--on Sunday. Kamara got most of his yards running left on Sunday...I wouldn't be surprised if the Packers try that.

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fansince1959's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:36 am

great analysis!!!

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Matt Gonzales's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:41 am

Sounds like a good match for the Packers stretch/boot kind of look. Run left, throw right, etc. With the full receiving corps healthy there should be a few opportunities to out the ball over the top of the secondary when/if Tampa tries to crash down.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 21, 2021 at 11:36 am

Love ya NP! We are the Green Bay Packers, Damn it.!
Run to glory,all day and then kill them with the pass. Cap it off with an interception!

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NickPerry's picture

January 21, 2021 at 06:48 am

One last thing... Brady is a poor sport? Make him CRY then. Make him stomp his feet, throw his helmet, and show the world GOATS win AND lose with dignity, not pout and run off the field like a little bitch!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:09 am

I agree Tim, if we don't turn the ball over (and especially if we get a turnover) we will cover. If not, it'll be touch and go. You're also right that ARod hasn't ever played well in an NFC CG. But let's not put the Favre-playoff-choker label on him. Favre was straight up missing open guys and throwing to the other team in the playoffs for the last 2/3rds of his career. Rodgers has not done that, he just hasn't been "special" in this game. I'd suggest it's because of the quality of the defenses he has played against, and the fact that every game until now has been on the road. @ CHI in 10. @ SEA in 14. @ ATL in 16 (which he played well but not like Superman in) and @ SF in 19.

No, he's not Big-Game-Tawmy. But frankly, who is? Peyton SUCKED in the playoffs. Drew too. Ben has never been great in the playoffs. During my lifetime, Brady and Montana have been the GOATs in pressure situations. I don't like either of those teams, or either of those players, but I try to always call a spade a spade.

Hopefully, ARod can change this narrative a bit on Sunday. Just like Favre, and hardly his fault entirely, but ARod has not won enough Super Bowls. 2 is expected and one of them needs to be this year. I do think we are the best team in the league and we have been so since November.

You're right. It's time to show it.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:30 am

You’re right that those big games weren’t as much about Rodgers as it was about an inferior defense. Brady has won because Belechick has coached up a defense that is almost always prepared and in the top 5 year in and year out. The Packers defense looks different this year and ready to cause havoc. Also, now we have more depth with Snacks and Tramon Williams.

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Coldworld's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:38 am

Snacks looked completely washed up on his 3 snaps last week. That seems to be why Price got in. If we see Williams it’s due to injury or a ton of D/Bs on the field. That’s not what I want to see from Pettine unless it’s a 3 score lead late in the 4th. That’s usually indicative the typical soft three man rush type of formation and style.

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:54 am

I wouldn't be surprised to see Williams as our punt returner. He is very capable and probably less risk at causing a turnover.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:59 am

Did we actually sign him though???

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:13 am

not as of yet.

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Coldworld's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:55 am

If we do it’s likely just to fair catch. He was very slow and somewhat concerning back in 2018. His days as a returner should be long past him. As a late era Woodson fair catcher perhaps though Woodson was a better catcher and more field aware than almost anyone at that point.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 21, 2021 at 11:40 am

Excellent point. Had not thought of that.

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dobber's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:11 am

If the Packers can do enough to keep the run game and play action relevant, they'll be in good shape. It could be that Tampa will ignore the run game, put their money on stopping ARod, and dare the Packers to beat them on the ground.

Vita Vea might be activated and play on Sunday. Keeping in mind that he won't have his legs under him, but he's a load. If he's out there on run downs, it makes attacking the middle all the much harder.

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Philarod's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:26 am

A little harsh on ARod's NFC championship game performances. Yes, he didn't light up the Bears, but that game was sandwiched between two all-world performances at Atl and in the SB.

Not sure what to say about the Seattle game. Bad first half playing on one leg...still should have won without ...too hurtful a chain of defensive and ST blunders to think about.

Atlanta could have named their score versus our D, as could SF last year.

If you look at their career playoff performances, Rodgers has actually outplayed Brady by a good margin . 100 to 90 Passer Rating, more TDs per game, fewer INTs per game, more ppg. And with worse coaching...and a terrible D. It's the ultimate team gane, but with what he can control, Rodgers has also been a great postseason QB. Having said that, he needs this one, and a full team effort with him.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 21, 2021 at 11:48 am

That is why I expect the entire team to rise up around Rodgers this Sunday. I keep saying this, and I am sure we all feel the same, but I can not wait. Who thought this season, but this could be our time! GPG

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Spock's picture

January 22, 2021 at 04:37 am

Philarod, I agree with your assessment of Rodgers play in those games. He outplayed a healthy Wilson in that Seattle game (Wilson's QB rating at the half was 0.0, I repeat 0.0 and a healthy Arod would have run for a lot of first downs. It was painful to watch him want to run and then just tucking the ball and getting what little he could w/o injuring himself further). That game Rodgers played plenty well enough to win but the not-so-special teams lost the game for the Packers.

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Razer's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:00 am

The Aaron Rodgers point about "not playing well in NFC Championship games" is a good one and will be the deciding factor in this game. We got here on an MVP season and will move forward with a strong game by our leader. Yes the O-line needs to play well and the run game needs to keep the Bucs guessing BUT Aaron Rodgers needs to make the calls, throws and lead the team. If adversity strikes, such as an INT, he can't react and behave like he did in Week 6. This is his game.

A strong showing by the defense will make this game easier or closer than it needs to be. If we can get pressure on Brady and force him to force the ball downfield advantage Packers. We really need Mike Pettine to draw up a solid plan and keep his scheme nimble. I will spew my Grapefruit sour if I see our guys scrambling to get set or see Lancaster covering a TE.

Go Packers

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freddisch's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:31 am

Why does every comment in reference to Aaron Donald’s last game, start with “he probably wasn’t 100%”? Most NFL players are not 100% after a full regular season. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, he suited up and played. Bottom line he got his ass handed to him

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Coldworld's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:42 am

Because there is no point pretending he was close to full health. Doesn’t get us anywhere to pretend he would have bern playing in other circumstances. We beat a good line and we should celebrate the reality. Don’t need to inflate it beyond the realistic.

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CoachDino's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:12 pm

And did it missing 2 OL one being the best in the game. LA had the injury ADvantage and GB still beat them...

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:43 am

This team is ready. I'm ready. We are all ready!

The thing standing in our way is one that many consider the Goat because of all of his rings. The difference is he now has to come to Lambeau Field in January to face Rodgers.

This Packers offense is playing the best in the league. They didn't have their best game and still put up 32 on the leagues best defense. Tampa will present challenges as well. They have a tough defense. We discovered that the last time we played them 3 months ago. But that is the key. 3 months ago. The temp of that game was 88 degrees and humidity was 48%. Our team had to adapt to that weather. Now they have to adapt to our weather. They are projecting 20's with possible snow (the last I saw). While Brady and Gronk are used to weather like this, the other players are not. The RB's have to grip the ball harder and the WR's have to learn to catch balls when its below freezing. Our team is used to it.

Also our team is a quite a bit different from the last time we played them. Clark is now healthy and back to his pro bowl form. We didn't have King in that game. We have seen how Pettine coaches differently when we have King in the line up. Barnes has stepped up as the main play caller on defense and since then our defense has improved significantly. We didn't have Kirskey who has really played well in his new role. Martin hadn't started playing yet either.
We didn't have Ervin or Austin to provide the jet sweep action. We are using Dillon more and created a new look with him on the field. Also in that game we didn't have Lazard who is a huge part of our offense. EQ was not yet back into form. We had Shepherd and Taylor playing on offense in that game.

In the last game, our game plan was not good. And we didn't adjust. Even LaFleur came out and admitted that. They kept trying to run outside plays. When they had success running the ball it was right up the middle. I expect more of that. Also I expect more motion this time around. Whether its with Dillon in the backfield and motioning Jones or using Austin on jet sweeps. I expect to see a lot more of it this time around.

I'm feeling good about this game. It won't be easy, but I feel better about this 2nd matchup then I did last year facing the 49ers for the 2nd time. We are at home and have the better team this time around. Time to get some revenge!

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 08:57 am

RC...good point about the weather a team not use to playing in 88 degrees is no different then a team not use to playing in the 20's. Our advantage this time. We need to stop the run and run the ball.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:03 am

Something else to consider is that this will be the first time many of the Bucs players will be in the NFC Championship game.

Most of the Packers were here a year ago. They know what can happen if you don't come out and play your best.

Now the weather and the experience won't decide the game, they are factors that can impact some players.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 21, 2021 at 02:30 pm

That was my thought. It was exceptionally warm which didn’t help. Playing there in February would be different!

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SugarCain's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:00 am

An old wresting coach used to say is your opponent a Stud (strong) or a Slick (fast/quick). Tampa is faster than Green Bay so you have to STUD them.
On offense: Make this game about winning inside football in the trenches with getting hit in the face often! Run the ball vs throw in RPO situations! Last time Aaron threw to much vs dime defense.
Only 21 carries...Aaron Jones needs 20 carries himself this time! Plus another 10 by Jamal Williams and 8 by Dillon.

On Defense: Most sacks wins the game. Hit pretty boy Tom a lot!

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murf7777's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:36 am

Wise coach!

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:47 am

More beef, less quickness; run it inside, outside and trap Suh with the counters.

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Dragon5's picture

January 21, 2021 at 09:37 am

Love Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren with their "and there's your dagger!" and "YES!!!" subtleties, respectively, but Max Magee & Jim Irwin were, shall we say, "the perfect pour." Sadly, I feel the same about Untitled Art's current (dark) lineup...IMHO nothing measures up to its retired Hazelnut Imperial Stout. Tim, let's start a petition to get it back. Like LeRoy, it has a HoF resume and its cylindrical bust belongs a PERMANENT fixture on retail shelves and in home refrigerators.

Outlook could be harsh for TB offense in 2021...
--Brady, Godwin, and Evans in personal 7 years...more susceptible to injury. With Godwin a FA, potential landmine signing much like I warned about Bahk since January last year. Had Gute waited, he would be bar none, GM of the year.
--Brown, Fournette are 7 life paths, so injury prone anyway.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:00 am

That grapefruit beer looks delicious by the way!!!

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ClaudioLeonatusII's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:28 am

This is really interesting sports. Although I have lived for a long time in the U.S. and prefer baseball to cricket and football to other sports.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 21, 2021 at 01:20 pm

I've seen some really vicious cricket matches in the U.K....

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tonys247's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:40 am

Watch Packers vs. Buccaneers Game Live Online :2021 NFL Conference Championship

LIVE NOW:> https://tinyurl.com/y4dsfcee

LIVE NOW:> https://tinyurl.com/y4dsfcee

The opponent? Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with New England and has a chance to win a seventh for his new team.

One day after the Packers mostly dominated the Los Angeles Rams in a 32-18 victory, the Buccaneers punished the New Orleans Saints 30-20 at the Superdome. The same swarming defense that made life miserable for Rodgers and Co. in October produced four takeaways and made Drew Brees look like an old man.

That set up a made-for-TV showdown between two living legends. Rodgers and Brady will meet for only the fourth time in their illustrious careers. It will be by far the most important, with Green Bays infamous loss at Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship Game robbing the world of a Rodgers vs. Brady matchup in the Super Bowl. Rodgers desperately wants to win a second Super Bowl. Brady desperately wants to win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick.

We ve got to go beat a great football team. Aarons playing incredible. Were going to have to play great to beat them,” Brady told Foxs Erin Andrews after the game.

The early forecast for Sunday is a high of 23 with a chance of snow.

While they never would have admitted it, the Packers probably would have preferred a matchup against Brees and the Saints. Never mind that Green Bay won at New Orleans 37-30 in Week 3 but lost at Tampa Bay 38-10 in Week 6. Brees, who has spent all 20 seasons playing in the warmth of San Diego or the dome in New Orleans, played in only one game with a kickoff temperature of 25 or colder. Brady, meanwhile, is a resounding 15-3.

Almost exactly three months ago, the Packers were outclassed by the Bucs. Coming off its bye, Green Bay raced to a 10-0 lead but Rodgers threw a pick-six and an interception on back-to-back possessions. The Packers never crossed midfield over the final three quarters. They had nine first downs on their first two possessions and four in their final 10.

Might need to add an extra finger to the scotch, but I do feel good about the team,” Rodgers said after a miserable afternoon. Ive played for so long, youre going to have a couple stinkers. I think about the game at New York many years ago [2012] where I hit Jordy (Nelson) on an out-and-up to start the game, and we lost 38-10. Tonight kind of felt like that, unfortunately, where you kind of got off to a nice start and then just nothing. So, I feel really good about our squad. Weve had four really, really good weeks, being efficient, winning, offensively being very explosive, defensively coming up with timely stops.

This is, I believe, an anomaly, not the beginning of a trend. And weve got a chance to prove me right next week.”

Rodgers was proven right again and again. The Packers will enter Sundays championship game with seven consecutive wins.

In a heavyweight showdown on Saturday, Green Bays top-ranked scoring offense overwhelmed the Rams top-ranked scoring defense. It will be a similar challenge on Sunday.

Brees was 19-of-34 passing for just 134 yards. Premier receiver Michael Thomas was shut out on four targets.

Rodgers, of course, is a far better player than Brees at this point in his career. Hes the likely MVP after throwing 48 touchdown passes in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. He led the NFL in passer rating, touchdown passes, completion percentage, touchdown percentage and interception percentage.

Tampa Bays defense is legit. The Bucs finished eighth in points allowed and first against the run with 80.6 yards per game and 3.60 yards per carry. Linebacker Devin White, who had 11 tackles and one interception against the Saints, had 10 tackles, one sack and three tackles for losses against Green Bay. The Bucs had five sacks in the first meeting.

While the reality is it will be Rodgers facing that dominant defense and Green Bays defense contending with the legendary Brady and his deep list of weapons, the hype will be centered on Rodgers vs. Brady – arguably the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

When it comes to big picture and you guys writing your stories and telling that whole story, which I know is a part of it, its two older guys,” Rodgers said before the Week 6 game. Hes a little bit older than I am – hes got me by about six-and-a-half or seven years – but we havent played a lot because hes been in the AFC the majority of his career and Ive been over here.

Hes obviously done it at the highest of levels for so long. Hes been an icon at the position. Hes been somebody that weve all looked up to for so many years as the standard of excellence. I think theres a ton of admiration and respect for the way that hes played the game from so many of us, especially us guys whove been in the same era for so many years with him and gotten to compete with him every now and then being an NFC guy. I think its good that we just enjoy it for what it is, have respect and admiration for the way that we have played over this time, and enjoy where were at in our careers now.”

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fansince1959's picture

January 21, 2021 at 10:44 am

let's hope both Tom and Giselle cry and pout

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 21, 2021 at 11:34 am

RIP Ted Thompson!

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flackcatcher's picture

January 21, 2021 at 02:03 pm

Couple of comments here. For most of this year I have seen Tampa Bay live. They are very much a Bruce Arians team. Very Boom or Bust. Tom Brady has been a very calming influence in the locker room, and has tempered Arians outbursts. Say what you want about Brady, but he has made Tampa a much more mature team. That said, be careful not to overrate Tampa. Even with Brady and Gronk, this offense has real limits on how it can operate, mostly due to the weakness of its offensive line. If Tampa can not run the ball consistently, then their WR can be pressed at the line and Brady has real issues getting a release. On the defensive side of the ball, Tampa lives by the turn over. Outside their LB, which is one of the faster units in pro football, this unit can be had. Their secondary is sloppy in coverage and will peek too often in the backfield, and as a unit the secondary will gamble way too much in game. The defensive line is decent, but will not hold their base and loses in gap coverage. And, is one of the dirtier units when they start to lose at the LOS. As a football team Tampa Bay is athletic but lazy. If they are not ready, Green Bay's weather and Turf will cripple them early in the game. Overall Green Bay is a better football team at this stage of the season. So, for Tampa to win, they will need T.O. mistakes and sloppy play on the part of the Packers to win. The odds on that happening on Green Bay's part, slim and none. And slim just left the building... :-)

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FITZCORE1252's picture

January 21, 2021 at 07:45 pm

When QB1 is taking a knee in victory formation, I hope the crowd serenades him with a "GOAT-GOAT-GOAT..." chant. Perhaps Tim Brady will even chime in?

GPG

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jlc1's picture

January 22, 2021 at 01:04 pm

i am looking forward to us all getting a *poot* on Sunday. GPG!

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