NFC Championship Preview: The Buccaneers defeated the Packers in Week 6 of the regular season by a score of 38-10. The Buccaneers blew the Packers out of Tampa Bay in October, but they’ll enter the NFC Championship on Sunday as a 3.5-point underdog.
The Buccaneers have proven that they have the ability to beat the Packers this season. However, it’ll be tough to do it once again in the NFC Championship Game. If the Buccaneers want to make it to their first Super Bowl since 2002, they’ll need to do three things on Sunday afternoon.
NFC Championship Preview: #1 | Confuse Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers has been unstoppable throughout the entire 2020 season. Rodgers completed over 70% of his passes in the regular season for 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns. In the Divisional Round against the Rams, Rodgers was 23 of 36 for 296 yards with two touchdowns.
Rodgers has lit up the stat sheet all year, but the main category to look at with the All-Pro quarterback is his interceptions. Rodgers has only thrown five interceptions in 17 games. He doesn’t make many mistakes and that is a major factor for why Green Bay is so tough to beat.
The only team that has confused Rodgers this season is the one that’ll he will face on Sunday. Tampa Bay held Rodgers to 160 yards through the air in Week 6. The Buccaneers’ defense picked off Rodgers twice inside Raymond James Stadium.
This effort wasn’t just thanks to the Tampa Bay secondary. It was a collective effort from the entire Buccaneers’ defense. The Tampa Bay front seven, led by Jason Pierre Paul and Lavonte David, sacked Rodgers five times.
Rodgers couldn’t find a groove all afternoon and that’s why Green Bay only scored ten points. The Buccaneers will need to use an identical blueprint to this on Sunday to go 2-0 against the Packers this season.
NFC Championship Preview: #2 | Be Flawless Up Front
The Buccaneers offensive line has been a catalyst for the success of the team in 2020. The unit is led by Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet. These two do a terrific job keeping the pocket strong in the middle of the line.
When Tom Brady has time, he doesn’t look anything like a 43-year-old quarterback. The Buccaneers’ offensive line plays a significant role on Sunday. They need to enforce their will in the run game and not allow the Packers to effect Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers had the fourth-best offensive line when it came to sacks allowed this season. They only gave up 22 sacks or 1.38 per game. The Buccaneers have had such a strong passing game this year, which has made OC Byron Leftwich stay away from the run.
The Buccaneers have some big-name running backs in the backfield, but Tampa Bay is only averaging 94.9 yards per game. On Sunday, the Buccaneers are going to want to run the football. This will take possessions away from Green Bay.
The Buccaneers rushed for 158 yards in October against the Packers. They’ll need to repeat this statistic on Sunday.
NFC Championship Preview: #3 | Tom Brady Needs to be Tom Brady
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. He is 32-11 in the playoffs as a starting quarterback. The GOAT has won 9 conference championships. Brady has almost thrown for 12,000 yards in his playoff career.
Tom Brady became the GOAT because of his ability to be great with the game on the line. Tom Brady will need to be Tom Brady on Sunday to lead his new team to the Super Bowl.
This fact doesn’t mean that Brady will have to steal the show in order for the Buccaneers to prevail. Although, he will need to limit his mistakes.
I also believe he’ll need to put together a game-winning drive in the final minutes on Sunday. If Tom Brady is Tom Brady in the NFC Championship, the Buccaneers will be competing for a Lombardi Trophy in two weeks.
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