Packers Periscope: Conference Championship vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Green Bay Packers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship

 

Yesterday we learned the tragic news that former Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson passed away at age 68. Thompson had an illustrious career, serving as GM from 2005 to 2017. In his first-ever NFL draft, he made arguably the greatest/most controversial pick in NFL history when he drafted Aaron Rodgers. That decision, among other corresponding moves, led Green Bay to their fourth Super Bowl in 2010. In total, Thompson drafted 20 players that were selected to at least one Pro Bowl. Some are key contributors still on the Packers’ roster. The entire franchise and fanbase owe Thompson a tremendous debt of gratitude for his service. He embodied the winning culture that this team stands for. For that reason, he would have been a part of this year’s celebration if Green Bay can retrieve the Lombardi trophy. It’s only fitting that this Super Bowl run is now in memory of Thompson and his legacy.

The Packers are one win away from appearing in their sixth Super Bowl. To get there, they will have to go through Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Green Bay already suffered a crushing loss at the hands of Tampa Bay in week six. However, championships aren’t won in October, and the Packers aren’t the same team they were a few months ago, and neither are the Buccaneers.

Since that meeting, Green Bay is 10-2, including seven straight wins extending into the playoffs. Tampa Bay is 9-3, having suffered losses to the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs. Two of those teams the Packers have already beat. The Buccaneers got their revenge over the Saints the day after Green Bay defeated the Rams in last week’s divisional round. And now it’s down to just two in the NFC.

This matchup is featured by Brady vs Rodgers. They are two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, but the history between these two teams dates back to when Tampa Bay was a member of the NFC Central. The Packers and Buccaneers have met 56 times total, including one time during the postseason.

That playoff meeting was over 20 years ago in the 1997 divisional round Green Bay winning 21-7. Brett Favre connected with tight end Mark Chmura for a three-yard touchdown, and Dorsey Levens added another score and 112 yards rushing. Trent Dilfer was the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay. He completed only 11 of 36 passes for 200 yards. If Dilfer had a polar opposite under center, it would be Brady.

Brady vs Rodgers is a battle of two NFL giants, and the two have never played each other in the postseason. Brady leads the regular-season series 2-1, but Rodgers is out for blood.

In their week six loss, Rodgers threw two uncharacteristic and costly interceptions after the Packers took a 10-0 lead. Since then, Rodgers has played at All-Pro, MVP level, and the defense has performed well down the stretch. Basically, don’t expect the same or even a similar result to the last showdown.

The Buccaneers do have a talented defense and key players at all three levels. That’s what makes them so scary when working in conjunction with a star-studded offense. Sunday’s matchup could be a shootout, or it could also be a grinded out game given the elements. The forecast calls for 20-degree weather and a 50 percent chance of snow, which definitely favors the home team.

Green Bay has never hosted an NFC Championship with Rodgers as the starter despite four appearances. This week’s game will also be the first NFC Championship at Lambeau since 2007.

Tampa Bay is the only defense that has come close to stopping this offense in 2020. From an outside perspective, we know their defense is fast, so outside zone runs are probably out of the equation. The Buccaneers' best chance is to pressure Rodgers, which worked very in their first meeting. Todd Bowles could throw the kitchen sink at him to try and gain an early lead.  However, the Packers' offense is hitting on all levels at just the right time.

Defensively, Green Bay could try to rattle Brady with pressure but that is much easier said than done. Brady is masterful at the line of scrimmage at calling out blitzes and, on top of that, he gets rid of the ball quickly. If his back issue isn't enough to keep him out, Kevin King could be an interesting player to watch after he was unavailable for the first meeting. As always, it’s important that the run defense has a strong showing in order to stop the combination of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. They totaled 169 yards against New Orleans.

This is a game for every type of football fan. Legacy’s are on the line and you couldn’t have asked for two more well-rounded teams. This is the big one, Packers fans. Your team is playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (32)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Leatherhead's picture

January 22, 2021 at 03:46 pm

If we score 35, we win.

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Johnblood27's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:40 am

I think it will take 38 to win.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 22, 2021 at 06:02 pm

At this stage of the season there are no secrets. As I said before the Rams game, outside some unscripted looks, both teams know what's coming. This game like the Rams game, comes down to will and execution. The Rams are a far better team than Tampa Bay, and we all saw what Green Bay did to them. If the Packers play like last week, this game will not even be close. The Packers are a far better team, playing at a level that Tampa must approach to have a chance. The odds that Tampa can match Green Bay at Lambeau, or that Green Bay will drop in performance and execution, not high at all. Packers win.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 22, 2021 at 09:21 pm

I think that Tampa has a better team than do the Rams. We need to play at our best.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:05 am

I think we are better overall and performed as such over the season on offense and on defense in the second half.

The biggest blips came against Tampa and teams that emulated them. The big question for me is whether LaFleur has come up with a plan against that kind of D and whether Pettine had a viable plan and used the right personnel to stop the run and collapse the pocket on Brady, up the middle ideally. Ultimately, I see this as a bigger test of our coaches than anything.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:49 pm

You should not base your analysis on one bad game by the Packers in this season. Overall, as I said below thread, the Rams defense is a level above Tampa's, and this Packers team is flat out better than the Rams at the LOS as we saw last week. Be careful not to overrate Tampa and underrate the Packers here.

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:05 am

You lost me at "The Rams are a far better team than Tampa Bay."

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flackcatcher's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:36 pm

Seriously, Tampa Bay is a huge underdog going in. I've seen both teams live this season, Tampa more than I like. It's the curse of living in the area and having friends in their front office. So yeah, 'eye test' OK. The Rams defense is whole level above Tampa Bay's. The main difference is the Rams defense is smart and discipline. Tampa Bay's is not. Tampa is a physical unit who will cheat, and got burned for it all season long. So if you have been watching the last half of the Packers season, then what they did to the Rams at the LOS was not surprising at all. If the Packers execute at the level they are now playing at, it won't be even close tomorrow.

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murf7777's picture

January 22, 2021 at 08:37 pm

The forecast is around 30 degreees on weather channel, where are you getting 20 degree prediction?

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:09 am

It seems to be a thing with this site. They give a prediction that is 10 degrees lower than the actual prediction. NOAA says 30 degrees.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:39 am

Temp will start dropping by halftime--the Lake Effect.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:09 am

I’m seeing upper 20s, but meteorologists say there is still some uncertainty as to snow during the game. The odds seem against it at present. Humidity is not going to be low so will feel colder I suspect.

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Johnblood27's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:43 am

With the outdoor - northern latitude advantage that the Packers have, especially over a warm weather team like Tampa Bay, why must the league put the game time at the worst possible time for the Packers? Why not give us the late time slot? Oh no, that would actually allow GB to have the advantage they worked for all year. Hmmmmmm... Brady bias.

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murf7777's picture

January 22, 2021 at 08:43 pm

I was watching the Tampa game and the outside run didn’t work very well. The speed of their LB’s beat out our OL to the punch. Either that has to change somehow or we have to get our runs up the middle. The biggest run was by William and that was off gUard. Our three lineman in the middle are solid and we need to do the same as against the Rams, pound the middle for 4-5 yards.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:40 am

Need to use DBL TE stacks, maybe have three on the field at the same time. I wonder if Sternberger will be ready for this game. I would use him.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:21 am

They have a good run D. The goal isn’t to rack up 200 plus yards on the ground but to tire them and open the passing game while preventing them from selling out on the pass late in the game. We ran on the best run defense in the league, we can do enough against them.

The key is to attack the middle and to breach the D line forcing the ILBs to take the pounding and stop them focusing on pass coverage. In the first game we totally failed to do that. If our line holds, and running hard will help, this game is likely very different.

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mnbadger's picture

January 22, 2021 at 08:55 pm

pound inside, multiple tight ends to keep linebackers honest. get it out quick to move the chains and take a few shots on double moves. Now on to solving world hunger. Pack 23-19. GPG

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Johnblood27's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:45 am

here's my secret tip...

Solution to World Hunger = Less humans. Take it however you want to.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:17 pm

Cannibalism works too. ;-)

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Bwana's picture

January 22, 2021 at 09:22 pm

King is out, so what. Guy couldn’t tackle his grandmother if she ran straight at him.

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fastmoving's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:17 am

King is one of the best CBs, but I guess you tryin to be funny.
And of course you could tackle your grandmother even if nobody else in your life. Bet you played a lot of pro sports on your couch.
Would guess you are 5 2 and 230 pounds, but at least you can sceam loud at your TV. Just buy you a Ben and Jerry icecream and relax. Good times ahead.
But the dramaqueens are just like to cry. "We waste my prime!", "We will never beat a playoff team.......D too soft...fire them now...so sad, so sad." But the best will always be "We won it all.......but the draft!". Wish that weak guys would played any sport one time in their life instead of watching Fuckx News the whole day.

Go to watch the Cowoboys in the play offs.....they had a run like hell the last 25 years.

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Johnblood27's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:48 am

fast moving must equal slow thinking.

Your elitist BS is so thin I can see right through it.

Thank God you are here to tell everyone else how to be a fan, what to think and how to run their lives. Just typical.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 23, 2021 at 08:45 pm

You're claiming that someone else is is trying to tell everyone how to be a fan? That's rich, after you posted your diatribe that had "FAN" in it multiple times. After you tried to attach your opinion of what it means to be a fan to everyone else.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:28 am

King is not out. He is questionable. He has actually tackled effectively recently though I wish he’d use his arms. The amount of rubbish talked about his tackling for a CB is laughable. We have had far worse tackling CBs. LaFleur is hopeful that he will play. So am I because the alternative is likely Jackson.

Colonial era term for boss or master for your name is particularly risible.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:14 pm

Sullivan or with Williams in the slot if King can't go. Jackson seems to have fallen out of the rotation. They could throw Redman over there, but the loss of experience on the boundary will hurt.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:38 am

Give us TJ Watt instead of King.
Tramon instead of Queen is an upgrade because he's smarter with more heart.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:43 am

The whining over Watt just never stops. Just go ahead and be a Steelers fan so you can salivate over Watt every game.

And apparently you think your 'Queen" reference is cute. It's not. It is only evidence of your misogyny.

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Crankbait's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:06 am

One key to this game is Kevin King and his back injury. LaFleaur better not think of putting him on that field if his back is not close to 100% or it could spell disaster.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 11:33 am

So could putting Jackson out there

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sharonmike's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:24 am

I Got My Ex Husband Back....with the help.......Robinsonbuckler11 {{ gmail }} com……….

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tonys247's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:30 am

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

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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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PatrickGB's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:23 pm

I think that this team has given its best all season. We have overachieved and I am happy for that. Sunday’s loss will be a heartbreaker. What is even sadder is that the salary cap will cause the loss of important players to this year’s roster. My hope is that we can, at least, keep it close. Tampa Bay 30, Green Bay 27.

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