The Sunday Morning Packers Gameday Preview

Welcome to a Championship edition of the Sunday Morning Packers Gameday Preview; Go Pack Go! 

Good Morning Packer Nation!!! Welcome to an NFC Championship Game edition of The Sunday Morning Packers Gameday Preview!  This week the Green Bay Packers will have their return match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a trip to Super Bowl LV in Tampa on the line.  

This certainly is one of the premier quarterback playoff matchups in the very early part of this decade.  Rodgers and Brady will get a majority of the headlines but rest assured, this game will be decided in the trenches.  Which team will be able to protect their quarterback and which team will be able to bring down the opposing quarterback?  Which offensive line will be able to open up lanes for their running backs to provide balance for their offense?  Will Aaron Rodgers and the Packers finally make it back to the Super Bowl after a ten-year absence?  I will provide the answer to these questions and more in this week’s edition of The Sunday Morning Packers Gameday Preview.    

In this week’s edition of the Sunday Morning Packers Gameday Preview, I will talk about how I see this NFC Championship Game playing out, I will answer the three burning questions that will determine the outcome of today’s game, and give you my picks, parlays, and game props for this conference championship game matchup.  I am happy to have you here with me today for this matchup that will determine the NFC representative in this year’s Super Bowl; so just sit back, relax, and enjoy this morning’s Packers Gameday preview with your morning cup of Joe or drink of choice.

What to Expect Against the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game?

Championship teams have a presence about them.  They always defy the steepest of obstacles and find a way to come out better for having faced them.  This is how I view the 2020-2021 Green Bay Packers.  Throughout this season they have had to deal with an increasingly worsening pandemic, the death of multiple franchise hall of famers, injuries to key players, and media pundits counting them out.  Nevertheless the 2020-2021 Green Bay Packers have persisted and find themselves in their second straight NFC Championship Game.  

Going into week 7 against the Houston Texans, I wrote the following: 

“As if a 38-10 rout in Tampa wasn’t bad enough, the news got worse with David Bakhtiari being confirmed out for today’s game and Aaron Jones most likely being a game time decision.  This is when we will see if Brian Gutekunst’s picks to add depth to the roster can actually step in and shoulder a heavy amount of reps with close to the same amount of production.  If the Packers lose this week, everyone will point to injuries as one of the main reasons.  However, championship caliber teams win these types of games and overcome these types of obstacles.  To me, this is a game that will measure the intestinal fortitude of the 2020 Green Bay Packers”.

From that point on the Packers found ways to win football games despite players going in and out of the lineup due to injuries.  Young players like Rashan Gary and Krys Barnes ascended into prominent roles and solidified the defense while the offense kept rolling behind an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers and a career best and record setting season from Davante Adams.  Going into the playoffs many wondered whether or not the Packers would keep rolling against the Rams number #1 ranked defense.  Not only did they roll, but they could have easily put up 46 points on them had it not been for a Lazard drop and the victory formation.  

Despite another 13-3 season and dominating performance there are still many who expect Brady to find a way to walk out of Lambeau with a win simply because of his pedigree.  To that I would say, tread very lightly. Why should the doubters tread lightly? The 2020-2021 Packers, like 2010-2011 are playing their best ball of the season at the right time.  Like I said back in week 7 against Houston, “championship caliber teams win these type of games (missing players and being counted out/overlooked) and overcome these types of obstacles”.  

With that being said, look for the Packers to find a way to make stops when it counts and put together a championship drive in the game’s final moments.  I expect a back and forth kind of game with both quarterbacks putting together sustained drives and scoring points.  However, I expect the Packers offensive line to step up and protect Rodgers and open up running lanes for all three backs.  Look for balance and continuity in the Packers offense and Mike Pettine’s experience in the AFC East to pay off on some big game changing stops against Brady.  In the end, I am going against the grain and saying that the often-maligned Pettine comes up with a way to stop Brady when it matters most and the defense seals a trip to the Super Bowl for the Pack.       

Three Burning Questions That Will Determine the Outcome of This Afternoon’s Game:

  1. Will the Packers be able to protect Aaron Rodgers from Tampa’s stunts this time around?
  2. Will the Packers “deserve to be on the field” against Tampa this time around, and if so, who steps up and makes a difference? 
  3. Will Mike Pettine bring some of his Jets playbook to help the Packers defense get to Tom Brady?

Sunday Afternoon Fantasy Football Picks (Always Start the Plug and Play Guys, No Predictions for Championship Weekend):

Picks, Parlays, and Game Props:

  1. Anytime touchdown scorer parlay: Ronald Jones, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and Rob Gronkowski (+13319)
  2. Two Touchdown Scorer: Davante Adams (+320).
  3. Game Prop Parlay: Tampa Bay (+5.5 and over 50.5 points (+190)
  4. Game Pick: Packers 28 Buccaneers 24, I think the Packers defense plays their best game of the season and Mike Pettine dials up some schemes from his days with the Jets to put Tom Brady on his ass.  Godspeed Ted, this one is for you!

Packer fans, I want to hear from you!  Let me know your thoughts on this NFC Championship Game clash at Lambeau Field.  How do you see this one playing out? Did you hit on any fantasy or game/parlay picks throughout the year?  What are your picks for this week?

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (22)

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:05 am

Excellent article as always David. A great way to start NFC championship day.

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NickPerry's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:18 am

Today the Packers show the Bucs and the rest of the NFL week 6 was nothing but an anomaly. It's been my opinion this game isn't going to be that close. The Packers weren't supposed to score 32 points and run up close to 500 yards on the Rams but they did. Most don't think they can produce that kind of offensive output on the Bucs, but I think they will.

The Rams have the better defense and proved it over a 16 week schedule and Wildcard Playoff game in Seattle. Like David said, they could have scored 46 AND rolled up 600 yards against the Rams last week. The Bucs have a tad bit better defense than the Packers according to the stats at ESPN. BUT they have the 21st ranked pass defense and that's where the Bucs will get wrecked.

Nothing is better than the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. The ONLY way it could be better is if all 80,000 seats were filled. But the fans who will be there will be loud and rocking, just like last week. This IS the Packers year. Packers 34 - 17...

#8 Quarters

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PeteK's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:57 am

I think you nailed it, Nick! This morning I looked at the stats of Buc's loses and in everyone of them a( or more) receiver had a big day against them, and Rbs did not excel for the most part. So I'm changing my opinion. Also, noticed that Brady will force the ball into tight coverage when hurried even a little bit, shown by the numerous PDs in their loses. So sound the air raid sirens and let's LOMBARD them!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 24, 2021 at 09:39 am

Thanks NP I needed to start the day off right. Time to settle quite a few scores! Hoping to have that same feeling as I did on Jan 11, 1997 Titletown!

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murf7777's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:21 am

It’s all been said, it’s time to take care of biz...pack 31-20.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 24, 2021 at 09:37 am

I think it will be higher scoring, despite the weather. Tampa rarely gets held to 20.

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Bure9620's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:23 am

This game is pretty simple to me, it will be won or lost in trenches. With all the focus on Rodgers/Brady this is a trench warfare game. If our O-line plays as well as last week, we win. The Bucs will not be able to stop us.
Rodgers will pick this team apart. If we get out of character, the O-line gets whipped up front in the run and has trouble with the blitz? It could be week 6 again. Brady will get his yards. Just need to disrupt a few throws.

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GB66's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:30 am

I have a bad feeling about today's game.

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Majik-Man_89's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:40 am

Are you a Bucs fan? If so, then yes, you * should * have a bad feeling about today's game! LOL

GO PACK GO

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mrj007's picture

January 24, 2021 at 10:41 am

Can you trust the Pack D? For 3 quarters in wk6- Pack O didn’t even cross midfield. Last year we all thought the first game against 49ers would force a different outcome in NFC game.... yet Pack did nothing and fell behind by 4 scores and weren’t competitive. Legit reason to be concerned. GPG!

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gkarl's picture

January 24, 2021 at 11:34 am

I have a bad feeling as well, TB12 retires after we administer a humiliating defeat to him and the rest of Bucs.

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Rick5952's picture

January 24, 2021 at 07:54 am

Big day ahead for the Aarons!

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Cubbygold's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:26 am

Idk why everyone is focused on the QBs. This is clearly a battle of the TEs. Gronk can't go punch for punch with Tonyan, game ball goes big dog for a clutch TD late

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Daren726's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:27 am

I like Murph’s prediction. Packers by at least a touchdown. I think the O line will dominate, even with Vita Vea back. And we an run on these guys, we just panicked and got away from it last time.

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Kb999's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:45 am

Last week Rodgers could have played in a tuxedo. No one touched him. We need to repeat that O- line performance. On the other side, we need to see grass stains on Brady's back. The Smith brothers need to come up big. If you knock Brady on his ass a few times, the 10 year Super Bowl drought ends. Go Pack!!!

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mnbadger's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:45 am

Throw out week 6. It happened, but it won't happen again. Experience is on our players' side, coaches will rise to the occasion. Wish I could be there, Pack 23-19. GPG

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mrj007's picture

January 24, 2021 at 11:09 am

Trying..... hope Packers have a great game today. They are due after the last three championship games. This one’s for Ted!

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tonys247's picture

January 24, 2021 at 09:20 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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Tundraboy's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:40 pm

Literally having that Sunday morning tall cup of coffee and I’m ready to go. The drinking will come later and I’m gonna need it today. No matter how much I try to relax I can not.

Go Pack Go

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FITZCORE1252's picture

January 24, 2021 at 11:59 am

After the Atlanta game in 2010 I was very confident that team would win it all. I haven't been that confident until now.

#Eightquarters

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MikeS's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Big game from the Smith bros and Gary and the Pack wins.

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ErneErne's picture

January 24, 2021 at 06:27 pm

This game will not be lost in the trenches as some have suggested. I say its the pass D that will fail, giving up easy passes and TD"s early on putting the Packers game plan in problem territory, all pass and no run. The balance will be gone going for passing to catch up and the pass rush knowing thats your plan.

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