Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Buccaneers Predictions and Pick for 2021 NFC Championship Game

Pred. Score

Line

GS PR

PR Line

Tampa Bay26510
Green Bay23-3.5-1 (2)-3
We have mentioned many times in previous postseason previews that prior results are hardly a foolproof indicator of coming attractions. But they are worth a mention, even though Green Bay would rather not talk about the 38-10 beating it absorbed at Tampa Bay back on October 18. The Packers, off of their bye week, looked like they meant business early when jumping to a 10-0 lead. By halftime, however, the game had turned inside-out, reversing course in a snap early in the 2 nd Q when the Bucs picked off Aaron Rodgers twice within a minute; first, Jamel Dean stepping in front of a Rodgers toss and going 32 yards for a score, then Mike Edwards forcing a pick and returning it all of the way to the Green Bay 2, from where Ronald Jones immediately smashed across the goal line. (Those, by the way, were 2 of the mere 5 interceptions tossed by Rodgers all year). As a 6-year-old in the wave pool at Busch Gardens’ nearby Adventure Island Park, Green Bay was suddenly underwater, and consecutive 3-and-out possessions preceded two more Tampa Bay TDs before the half ended. Up 28-10 at the break, the Bucs cruised home. Along the way Packer bell cow RB Aaron Jones was limited to just 15 YR in 10 attempts, while Rodgers played as if he was musing about the breakup with Danica Patrick, an un-Aaron-like 16 of 35 thru the air with those 2 picks. It was also his only game of the season without a TD pass. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay bullied for 158 YR, 113 of those by Jones. While not spectacular, Tom Brady was good enough, tossing a pair of TD passes without being guilty of a pick. As noted, it was the Bucs’ defense that turned around the game, and limited the damage caused by star Pack wideout Davante Adams, who caught only 61 yards worth of passes. Rodgers did not have a gain of more than 20 yards thru the air. We hardly believe Rodgers and the Packers will be similarly limited in the rematch, especially after bossing the stout Rams defense for 188 rush yards (99 by the hard-running Jones) last week. And even though the Bucs limited Adams’ damage in the first meeting, they don’t have a Jalen Ramsey-type (like the Rams last week) to shadow Davante. But Tampa Bay’s rush defense was the NFL’s best (80.6 ypg), and is noted it did stonewall Jones in the first meeting. Rodgers will not likely concede the infantry diversion this week, but even he will be less effective if Green Bay becomes semi one-dimensional again. The emergence of LB Devin White as a key playmaker is another plus for the Bucs. True, Brady might be a tick beneath his prior GOAT form, but he’s found a comfort level with this Bruce Arians offense that figured to be a work in progress this season, especially with key components such as Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown added after the campaign commenced. That process, however, seems to have arrived at something formidable In recent weeks, scoring 31 or more in five straight games; indeed, the Bucs seem to have discovered their identity as a run-first team, with Jones and Fournette alternating as proper diversions for Brady…who certainly knows something about conference championships and Super Bowls, having been to nine of the latter in his career. Though somewhat limiting the damage caused by the Rams last week, the Packer rush defense is still allowing 4.7 ypc, and the types of schemes used by vet d.c. Mike Pettine to intimidate Jared Goff into the check-down mode in the 2 nd half last Saturday might not work vs. the sage Brady. Lastly, we are hesitant to rate this Green Bay edition with recent NFC powerhouses, as the schedule offered lots of flawed and/or distracted opponents this season, while Brady and the Bucs have been battle-hardened by a more-challenging slate. Tampa Bay’s’ progress (6 SU wins in a row) also suggests it might be peaking at the right time, with further motivation to play in a Super Bowl on its home field (which would be an NFL first!).
Previous meetingsSU Record: Green Bay 33-22-1

Date

Team

Score

Line

FD

RA/RY

PC/PA/I/PY

F/F Lost

10-18-20Green Bay10-21321/9416/35/2/1601/0
Tampa Bay3854.52135/15817/28/0/1660/0
12-03-17Tampa Bay2045
Green Bay26-2.5

NFL Public Betting Report | Steve Merril’s NFL Conference Championships Betting Update