5 Things to Watch in Packers vs Buccaneers: Can Green Bay Bounce Back?

5 things to watch as the Packers look to get back to winning ways versus the Bucs.

Mike Evans

Evans may not have ever truly received the credit he deserves for a phenomenal career. He has produced every single year, often with subpar quarterback play.

The first wide receiver to have a 1,000-yard season in each of his first 10 years in the league, Evans is similar to Davante Adams in that he can put up gaudy numbers no matter what the situation surrounding him.

He will prove a tough matchup for the Packers, not only because of his quality, but his physicality. Even if Jaire Alexander returns to the field this week, having him shadow Evans might not be the best course of action, as he has struggled with bigger receivers in the past.

Tampa Bay’s other top receiver, Chris Godwin, is questionable as he deals with a knee injury, but practiced in full on Friday, giving Green Bay another dangerous wideout to potentially contend with.

Green Bay’s running back usage

Aaron Jones is still on the recovery trail from his knee injury, and now A.J. Dillon has a broken thumb. Both are questionable for Sunday, meaning Patrick Taylor and Kenyan Drake might be in line for a significant role.

The Bucs are weakened on the defensive line, with Vita Vea doubtful this week, but the Packers would ideally like a more proven option than Taylor or Drake running the ball. Drake has some pedigree in the NFL though and could take the bulk of the snaps if required.

Dillon’s availability seems dependent on finding a way for him to adequately protect his thumb and the ball, but getting even a few carries from Jones would make a huge difference to the threat of Green Bay’s rushing attack.

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Winfield Jr. is PFFs top ranked safety this season and is the premier playmaker of the Buccaneers defense.

Whether it is in coverage or down in the box against the run, Winfield is a difference maker and someone the Packers need to account for on every snap.

Jordan Love made a poor decision resulting in an interception versus the Giants and cannot afford to be sloppy this week with Winfield around.

Dontayvion Wicks

Wicks appeared primed for a breakout performance against the Giants with Christian Watson missing, but suffered an ankle injury himself, which knocked him out of the game early.

He was able to practice in a limited capacity on Thursday and Friday, which was somewhat of a surprise.

Given Wicks might be Green Bay’s best route runner, his presence this week could be crucial.

Green Bay’s bounce back-ability

Monday’s loss to the Giants came as a shock after three straight wins, and this game is now pivotal to the Packers playoff chances.

This team has been through good and bad streaks throughout the year and needs to avoid a skid at this crucial time of the season.

If the Packers cannot beat the Bucs at home, they probably do not deserve to make the postseason. Even undermanned, this is a game in which the Packers have to bounce back and return to the form they showed against the Chargers, Lions, and Chiefs.




Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres


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1 points

Comments (8)

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Coldworld's picture

December 16, 2023 at 05:18 pm

Well, at least they elevated Melton this time, which gives us an ability to stretch the field that we chose not to take up last week, to my frustration. We will need that even if Reed plays. I hope we use it at some points, not merely on STs. Don’t really want Winfield free to ignore the deep threat constantly.

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TxFred's picture

December 16, 2023 at 06:27 pm

Only thing to watch, IMO is the O Line. Straight ahead head down, shoulder pad power blocking. The sweep & end around are cutie plays. Get that fucking run blocking between the tackles!!!!!!!
MLF is hiding this weakness.
End arounds are DOA.
One deminionational won't cut. Deep O Line gutting is coming. These 20 year old, 300 lbs millionaire better get their shit together & start power blocking or gut them.
This is not new. Basic power blocking works well with JL's passing game!!!!!!! GPG

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dobber's picture

December 16, 2023 at 06:39 pm

If Vita Vea is out, this becomes much easier...but he's a beast inside and is going to win most matchups.

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splitpea1's picture

December 16, 2023 at 09:58 pm

After last week's debacle, I'm looking for some QB pressure and containment this time around.

The RB scenario you outlined has me a bit worried...hopefully one of our regular guys can play. But wouldn't it be nice to have Tyler Goodson in reserve? He had a pretty nice game against the Steelers. Oh well, water under the bridge.

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HawkPacker's picture

December 17, 2023 at 06:24 am

Yes Split, Goodson surprisingly had a good game. He actually was not afraid of contact which was not the case at Iowa. I liked him a lot in college until he shied away from contact.

They kept saying he is a rookie when actually this is his second year!

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SwedeBayPacker's picture

December 17, 2023 at 04:54 am

Hopefully last weeks humiliation will keep MLF from being too cute with the play calling. As long as it doesn't come down to Barry having to win the game we have a chance.

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Booner's picture

December 17, 2023 at 12:47 pm

Dingle Joe Dingle Joe Dingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to watch their QB get away. Dingle Joe Dingle Joe Dingle all the way oh what fun it is to watch our cornerbacks run away🎅🏻

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HawkPacker's picture

December 17, 2023 at 06:27 am

Regarding shadowing Mike Evans.

I think this would have worked with Rasul Douglas if he was still on the team.

Speaking of which, I did not hear much about this trade except that Gute stated that the deal with Buffalo was too good to pass up.

The deal was Buffalo gets Douglas and our 5th round pick for Buffalo's third round pick. That just doesn't sound like such a great deal for us unless maybe his salary was too high for Gute? Can anyone weigh in here to explain further this trade value?

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