The Green Bay Packers are coming off a Week two victory and will look to continue their momentum this week with the tall task of giving quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their first season loss.
Every week comes with a different narrative in the NFL; the report for this battle for NFC supremacy will come down to the health of both squads. The injury list and also missing key components for both teams will factor into this matchup.
David Bakhtiari, the talented All-Pro offensive tackle for the Packers has been largely inactive since tearing his ACL late in 2020. Every week, Packer fans hold their breath hoping that the star tackle will return to action and man the blindside for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Now with back-to-back appearances at practice this week (albeit limited), there just may be hope that Bakhtiari makes his season debut this week in Tampa Bay.
Wide receivers out this week are something that both teams will be trying to fix or avoid at this rate. The Packers look like they will have top receiver Allen Lazard and rookie Christian Watson, but as things stand they are without Sammy Watkins and slot receiver Randall Cobb is questionable. This could play a factor in if the Packers will return to a run dominant game which was key in their Week two victory over the Chicago Bears.
Looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their receiver situation may be even more troubling. Star receiver Mike Evans is out this week after being suspended for an altercation last week with the New Orleans Saints, and his fellow All-Pro teammate Chris Godwin will also be missing this clash with a hamstring issue. And the jury is still out if veteran receiver Julio Jones will also be able to suit up for this game due to injury.
The status of so many key players being up in the air or not available at all has taken precedence over a matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The victor in this one may just come down to whoever is able to have the most talent on the field in a game marred by the unavailability of so many top players.
Green Bay will look to continue its run first offense likely in this contest. The one-two punch of running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon has always been the expectation of how this offense would run since the start of the season, especially with the Packers relying on such a bevy of young and unproven talent at the wide receiver positions.
With Watkins out and Cobb seeming likely to be out (due to injury and illness respectively), the onus of picking up the slack may fall on the young shoulders of either 2022 second-round selection Watson or the fourth-round selection in receiver Romeo Doubs. Neither has been used very actively in this offense, but with so many injuries, either one or hopefully both of the young receivers can step up in this contest.
The Packers will have their hands full in this one no matter who is lining up for the Buccaneers on offense. They have a talented defense and of course Tom Brady at quarterback. It would seem the Buccaneers will be relying heavy on their run game led by Leonard Fournette as the Packers will likely do the same with their running back tandem.——————