NFL Game of the Week: Packers at Buccaneers
Two of the greatest to ever play the quarterback position will face off against each other on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 4:25 p.m. game will be just the fifth matchup between the two, with Brady winning three of the four thus far.
The Bucs enter the game undefeated so far this season, boasting a 2-0 record. Their defense played lights out in their first game of the season, limiting the Dallas Cowboys to three points, while the offense scored 19 points.
Week 2 was more of the same for the defense, which held the New Orleans Saints to just 10 points and forced five turnovers.
The Packers come into the matchup 1-1 on the season, following a Week 1 7-23 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and a 27-10 victory over the Chicago Bears this past Sunday night.
Both teams are solid defensively, but the concerns for each team revolve around their offense.
The Packers are dealing with the loss of Davante Adams, who they traded away this past offseason. Adams was the top threat for the Packers and is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, being selected to the Pro Bowl each of the last five seasons.
Without him, the Packers offense has had to adjust, focusing more on the run game with running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The two combined are averaging 143.5 rushing yards and six catches per game, keeping this offense afloat.
Allen Lazard is the number one wide receiver for the Packers after missing the first game due to injury. This should help balance the offense and could help Rodgers in the passing game, which will be the key to beating the Buccaneers and their stellar defense.
For Tampa Bay, the team may be 2-0 but there are some warning signs early on.
The receiving core has taken some big hits, as Rob Gronkowski retired, Antonio Brown quit the team in the middle of a game last season, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones are dinged up and Mike Evans is suspended for an altercation during last week’s game against the Saints.
To make matters worse, Brady has slowed down this year, throwing just two touchdown passes with a quarterback rating of 38.6 through the first two games. There’s still plenty of time for improvement, but the offense hasn’t come out firing on all cylinders like it has in the past.
For the Buccaneers to come out on top, they’re going to have to find new reliable options in the passing game. Leonard Fournette is a very good running back, but he is also questionable to play with a hamstring injury. Brady will have to rely on other weapons in the passing game if Godwin and/or Jones can’t suit up Sunday.
Ultimately, it will be a low scoring defensive battle, with the Packers being ranked the third best defense and the Buccaneers the fifth, according to Pro Football Focus.
Prediction: Packers 17, Buccaneers 13
Christopher Reynolds is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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