Championship Sunday is here. For the second consecutive year, the Packers will be playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. This is the first time in Rodgers career as a starter and the first time since 2007 that the Packers will be hosting the NFC Championship Game.
This will be a game for the ages. Rodgers vs Brady. It’s a dream scenario for the NFL. It doesn’t get any bigger than this today. Four quarters is all that separates the Packers from the Super Bowl.
Packers vs Bucs NFC Championship Preview
- When: Sunday, January 24, 2021
- Time: 2:05 CST
- Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
- TV: Fox
- Commentators: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi
- Spread: Packers favored by 3.5
- Last Meeting: Week 6 of 2020 season in Tampa Bay; Packers 10 Buccaneers 38
- All-time record: Packers lead 32-22-1
- Post season match-ups: The teams only met once, in 1997 with the Packers prevailing 21-7
3 Things to Watch
This is key to the Packers success. The Packers offensive line was perfect last week in its Divisional Round game against the Los Angeles Rams, as they didn’t allow a sack. This line has been dominate all season in keeping Rodgers clean, as he has only been sacked 21 times total. When the Packers and Bucs met earlier this season, it was the Packers worst game of year, and the offensive line gave up 5 sacks. They must do a better job this time of keeping the defensive off of Rodgers and giving him time to find the open receiver.
The running game is going to be huge for both teams. The Packers unleashed their three headed running back monster last week against the Rams. I would expect to see more of all three backs against the Bucs as well. Aaron Jones is the Packers top option out of the backfield. Last week, he went for 99 yards against what was the top defense in the NFL. Watch for Jones to bounce back from his performance against the Bucs earlier in the season when he only had 15 yards. On the defensive side of the football, the D-train is going to have to stop Tampa Bay’s Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, who split carries in their victory over New Orleans. In week 6, the Packers allowed over 100 yards to Ronald Jones. They are going to have to do a better job containing Tampa’s running attack this time around.
The Packers simply do not turn the ball over, as Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game at protecting the football. This season the Packers committed a league-low 11 turnovers this season. More impressive, is that in their last 7 games the Packers have only turned the ball over two times. Meanwhile, the Bucs have 17 turnovers while also generating 25 takeaways. In their last game against New Orleans, they generated four turnovers. In their matchup in week 6, Tampa had back to back interceptions the changed the entire game. I highly doubt that Rodgers will throw two interceptions again, I expect that whoever can win the turnover battle, will have momentum and win the game.
What happened in week 6 between these two teams does not matter, as both teams are completely different. Tampa Bay brought Tom Brady in to get them to the Super Bowl. Simple as that. No team in the NFL has ever played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Aaron Rodgers is starting his first NFC Championship Game at home. Rodgers is playing at an unbelievable level right now and the D-Train is rolling. This is going to be a classic. I fully expect it to be a close battle. In the end, I think Green Bay will advance to the Super Bowl, I just feel there is something with this team and they are playing like the best team in the NFC.
Here we go Cheesehead Nation! Four quarters to get to the Super Bowl.
Go Pack Go!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag