Early Bird Breakdown Week 13 – Buccaneers @ Packers
Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week thirteen of the regular season. Before diving into the breakdown, let’s look back to last week’s game.
Last week the Packers traveled to Pittsburgh where they were massive underdogs to the 8-2 Steelers (the Vegas line was over two touchdowns). After the previous game against Baltimore, the Vegas line seemed generous but a focused and much better looking Packer team took the field and played a great ball game. Although Pittsburgh came away winning 31-28 on a go ahead field goal as time expired if the Packers play that well going forward they may be able to turn their season around.
Packers’ Offense vs Buccaneers’ Defense:
After playing two of the top defenses in the league on back-to-back weeks the Brett Hundley will be licking his chops at the prospect of elevating his game further against the league’s worst defense. Tampa Bay ranks dead last in both total defense and pass defense. The Packers should easily be able to replicate and surpass the success offensively they had last week if Hundley plays up to those levels. Was last week a sign things have clicked or a flash in the pan? This week will be a good indication if he can avoid playing down to lesser competition.
One good sign going forward for the Packers is Aaron Rodgers returned to practice Saturday. He will not be able to play until the Panther game in two weeks at the absolute earliest.
Packers’ Defense vs Buccaneers’ Offense:
The Packers secondary will have to do a better job covering another top tier receiver this week than they did last week. Antonio Brown lit the Packers secondary for 169 yards and a pair of scores and was just unguardable. This is not the first time this season a top receiver has burned the secondary for a big game and has been a trend for a while now. The Buccaneers boast one of the more physically gifted receivers in the league in Mike Evans and one of the fastest still in the veteran Desean Jackson. The secondary will have to play better against these weapons, Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than Buccaneers’ QB Jameis Winston but Winston has half as many interceptions as Roethlisberger. The Packers cannot necessarily rely on turnovers to win.
Mike Daniels and the Packers front seven should have no issues with the Buccaneers run game however. Tampa Bay has the fifth-worst rushing offense in the league. This should allow the Green Bay defense to just make use of it’s line to control the ground game and focus exclusively on doubling the dynamic Buccaneer receivers.
The weather will be pleasant for this time of year, around 48 degrees with no wind or precipitation.
The Packers looked significantly better on Sunday Night Football than they have in recent weeks. If they play close to that level again this week they should easily handle Tampa Bay. While I think we may see some regression from Huntley, the Packers still offensively and defensively will be enough to beat the Buccaneers in Lambeau. Packers win 27-20.As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University