Back before the Buccaneers started playing in Raymond James Stadium they played their games in the old “Big Sombrero”. More often than not the away game between the Packers and Buccaneers would be scheduled for late in the season and as northerners are wont to do in the colder months Packers fans headed south.
During these times the Buccaneers were not very good. The stands at the Big Sombrero would often be filled with Green and Gold. The Packers were very successful in their trips to Tampa. Since the new stadium was built however, things have not been great. The Packers have won just once at Raymond James Stadium despite the two franchises having very different levels of success over the past two decades.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is winless in Tampa, going 0-2 over two starts in 2008 and 2009 with 3 interceptions in each game. In fact, games played in Tampa, FL account for 66.67% of Aaron Rodgers’ career 3 INT games. Considering that Tampa Bay is one of the worst teams in the league and just put their best defensive player on IR, it would be hard to believe that a poor performance would happen again. After all, Rodgers almost always succeeds after a bad game. More simply, Rodgers almost always succeeds.
If the Packers are to move to 11-4 and put themselves in a situation with a first round bye and at least one home game guaranteed, the team first has to take care of Tampa Bay on Sunday. One of the ways to make sure that happens is to make sure the crowd is as full of green and gold as possible. The Bucs are 2-12 and the fan base is pretty downtrodden. If you’re in the Florida area and you’re reading this, get your ass to the game!
Why the Packers Will Win: There’s a lot of reasons for this. First of all they’re the better team on Offense and Defense. I’m not going to give the Packers special teams credit over anyone until I see a marked improvement or a change in personnel/philosophy. That phase of the game might ultimately cost the Packers their 14th World Title. On offense, despite what we saw on Sunday, the Packers still have the top unit in the league. Without Gerald McCoy the Buccaneers shouldn’t be able to stop the run or the pass. The only thing the Buccaneers defense has going for them currently is that cornerback Alterraun Verner is playing pretty well. Unfortunately he’s a very good zone corner and doesn’t have the man coverage ability to take away a Jordy Nelson or a Randall Cobb.
It would appear that Tampa would have to score a bunch of points to keep up with the Packers on Sunday and scoring a bunch of points is not something that they have been doing. QB Josh McCown has been abysmal since his departure from the Chicago Bears. The Bucs sport this season’s 31st ranked offense in DVOA. They have the #31 passing attack and the league’s 17th best rushing offense. These are not good things to have when you are supposed to be keeping up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Without McCoy to pace the defense there will be pressure on McCown to keep up, and he will not be able to do so.
Why the Bucs Will Win: I have no idea how that could happen.
Bottom Line: I understand that a lot of the same fears we all had before the Buffalo game are the same fears that we have about Tampa. I understand that many of those fears were realized. Here’s the thing, though: these Bucs are not those Bills. These Bucs are 2-12. Those Bills are 8-6 and fighting for their playoff lives. That was chilly Buffalo. This is warm, sunny Tampa. There were wild and crazy Bills fans at that game. This is Lambeau Field South. The Packers know they have to win this game and Tampa Bay has nothing to play for. Packers 42 Bucs 10