Five Little Things That Could Make a Big Difference in the NFC Championship Game

The NFC Championship Game is fast approaching and the Green Bay Packers are one win away from getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years. The Packers are looking to avenge their worst performance of the season, a 38-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Week 6.

While a lot of attention has been paid to Aaron Rodgers vs Tom Brady and so many other big matchups in this game, here are five “little things” that may play a significant role in the outcome of what promises to be a close football game.

5. The Bucs Receiving Corps is Banged Up

The Buccaneers have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position, but injuries are compromising many of their players.

Tampa Bay has already ruled out Antonio Brown due to a knee injury. The controversial former Pro Bowler gave the Bucs another talented and experienced option in the passing game but won’t be on the field on Sunday.

In addition, star wideout Mike Evans is nursing a knee injury while Chris Godwin has an injured quad. Both were limited participants in practice this week and both are expected to play against the Packers although it’s not clear how much these injuries will slow them down.

Cornerbacks Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan may gain a slight edge because of these injuries to the Bucs top three wideouts.

That also means receivers Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson will see more reps on Sunday and that tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate will likely play a bigger role in the offense as well.

4. Krys Barnes’ Thumb

The improved play and increased role of rookie Krys Barnes at inside linebacker in the second half of the season has really helped the Packers defense.

The former UCLA star suffered a thumb injury in the win over the Rams last week. He had to leave the game briefly but returned and was able to play with a club on the injured thumb.

Barnes led the Packers in tackles and still played well, but he also dropped a possible interception because he had the club on.

The Packers are hoping that the thumb does not prevent Barnes from making a big play or even from making a key tackle that he would usually make that could result in a first down or big gain for Tampa Bay.

3. Special Teams

In a close game between two talented and evenly matched teams, special teams can make a big difference. Special teams have also been a problem area for the Packers for the past several seasons.

Last week, an errant snap cost the Packers an extra point. As a result, Matt LaFleur decided to go for two later in the game and the try was not successful. When the Rams scored and added a two-point conversion, they made it a one-score game instead of a two score game. Green Bay cannot afford to give the Bucs chances like that to keep the game close.

The Packers will also need to make sure they do not allow a big return to or turnover to hurt them on special teams.

When playing against elite teams in the playoffs, big plays on special teams can be momentum changers or game changers. The Packers cannot allow their struggling special teams to hurt them on Sunday.

2. The Weather and Footing

This is a small edge that could work in the Packers favor. With a 50 percent chance of snow in the forecast and temperatures expected to be in the mid-20s for most of the game, the Packers should feel right at home while many of the Bucs players will be struggling to deal with the unfamiliar cold weather.

More practically, the turf at Lambeau Field may be slippery in the cold and snow on Sunday. The Packers players are certainly more familiar with the conditions on their home field than the Bucs players will be. It could be something as simple as figuring out which type of cleats to wear or how to make a quick cut on the field, but these conditions could be a determining factor in one or more big plays in this game.

1. The Blocking of Allen Lazard and Marcedes Lewis

The Packers have two excellent blockers in tight end Marcedes Lewis and wide receiver Allen Lazard. Lazard’s strong blocking often helps spring Green Bay’s running backs for substantial gains and helps them pick up extra yards they may not otherwise get. He can also block well on wide receiver screens and short passes that he can help turn into larger gains.

Lewis is also an excellent run blocker and can help keep the Bucs blitzing linebackers and defensive backs at bay if he’s kept in to block on passing plays. He can also chip a pass rusher and then go out for a short pass that can help the offense pick up key yards or just prevent a big sack or loss.

These five things may not be what everybody is talking about ahead of this game, but they could end up making a difference in the outcome and determining whether the 2020 Packers get back to the Super Bowl.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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21 points

Comments (69)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lphill's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:39 pm

All good points, Lazard was out the first game so was Tonyon, King was out, Clark was playing hurt, Devante just returned and Batheri got hurt and Wagner went in at left tackle, this is a different Packers team .

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Lphill's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:40 pm

And Gary has arrived!

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:21 pm

Tonyan played in Tampa. 3 catches on 4 targets I think. All short gains. Lazard and King did not. Jackson started, EQ got some snaps along with Taylor and Shepherd at WR. Sternberger played as did Lovett.

Dillon looked good on limited snaps but Pettine used a lot of 2 and 3 man rushes. Dillon needs to be part of this game plan and Pettine needs to completely go away from his, which gave Brady all the time in the world and the extra d/b certainly didn’t merit it that day.

It’s important to recall that Tampa rushed for 150 yards that day, but also that we managed 94 at 4.5 per carry. We can run on that D. In fact we only managed 2.7 yards per pass. Running was the one thing we could do after Q1. Remember also that 2 of Tampa’s TDs were not from their offense.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:52 pm

Sorry, wrong placement

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Lphill's picture

January 23, 2021 at 07:43 pm

They replayed the game on the NFL network 2 nights ago , Tonyan was either playing hurt or came out hurt , was not as much of a factor like he's been of late.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 23, 2021 at 02:53 pm

Who is bahteri, Devante and Tonyon? Never heard about them...

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Demon's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:51 pm

Seriously? You of all people are going to criticize someone elses spelling? Many of your posts require an interpreter to understand, yet you criticize another poster. SMH.

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PaulRosik's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:43 pm

After the injury, the shuffling on the line led to mass confusion in the first game. Add in the state of the receivers at that point of the season and it was a recipe for disaster.

On defense the game plan was mystifying. Hopefully it is much more aggressive this time around.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:08 pm

This team is definitely not in the same place they were in Week 6. Now they have to play better than they did on that day. I hope they're up for the task and think they will be. Thanks as always for commenting, Lphill.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:09 pm

Love what we've seen from him especially the second half of the season.

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splitpea1's picture

January 23, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Another little thing that can lead to bigger things are penalties. The Packers led the league in offside infractions, so they'll have to control themselves from being too anxious at the LOS. We don't want to make Brady's job easier by allowing shorter conversion opportunities and drives to be extended.

Timeouts: Don't blow them early, especially on questionable challenges.

Referee: I have more confidence in Blakeman than Boger (who we had in the previous meeting and called no penalties on the Bucs!). Blakeman will be be fair.

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Minniman's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:51 pm

Penalties - That is my big tip too regarding the determinant of this match.

With such a small margin for error amongst teams this late in the post season, creating 2nd and 3rd and long situations will be courting disaster for the Packers.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Yes, little things can make a big difference. An experienced pro like Brady or Rodgers can definitely take advantage of second chances and free plays. Thanks for the comment, Minniman.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:15 pm

Penalties are important splitpea1. In fact, the Bucs didn't commit any penalties in the first meeting between the two teams. Free plays can be very damaging, especially against a pro like Brady. Thanks for commenting.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 23, 2021 at 01:00 pm

I might add the wind in the ez. It’s swirling there even when it’s not on the field. If it’s a close game, then those long passes, field goals and extra points may make the difference. Never discount the effects of the wind.

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:25 pm

Forecast calls for 6-8 mph wind. It should not be a factor.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:23 pm

A lot less than in Tampa

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:22 pm

The wind can make a big difference at a key moment. I think if it comes to a FG, Crosby may have an advantage because he's familiar with the winds at Lambeau. Thanks PatrickGB .

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2021 at 01:27 pm

So Brown is out huh? IMO that's good news for the Packers. He's not the #1 WR on that roster but he IS the one who's had the most experience playing in the cold and snow. Evens not so much. Godwin not so much since Penn State. That leaves Gronk, slow ass Gronk who just isn't what he was 2 years ago. He did have a good game in week 6 against the Packers BUT, that was waaaaay before Savage and Amos started playing like an elite safety tandem.

This week is WAY worse than last week with the "Experts" weighing in on the Bucs defense. Just like last week, these "Experts" are suggesting the Packers aren't going to be able to move the ball and they certainly won't be able to run on them. For the record the Rams had the #1 Defense over all. The Bucs the 6th. The Rams allowed a little less than 11 more yards per game than the Bucs on the ground...11 yards! BUT the Bucs were 21st against the pass... 21st!! Oh, and BTW...The Packers ranked 9th in overall Defense, giving up a whooping 6.9 yards more per game than TB yet all we hear about is the Bucs...I mean WTF!!!

Yes they have White and David. The Packers have The Smiths, Clark, Gary, and the best CB in the NFL in Alexander. The Packers Safeties are better IMO too. I'm really hoping the Defensive coaches are reminding these guys just how little respect they've been getting this week.

Lazard is back, Adams is 100% healthy, and OUR GOAT is playing better than anyone in the NFL. It's January in Lambeau and cold and snowy. The Packers are scoring 34 this week and I know the Bucs won't get close to that....34-17

#8 Quarters!

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jlc1's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:21 pm

Gronk I think gets away with a lot of OPI, lots of contact downfield. Doubt it will get called in a title game like this if it is not called in the regular season.

Right about Alexander being the best CB. If Arians floods the zone he only has one side of the field to be really comfortable with. One assumes GB can scheme around that pretty effectively. A shutdown corner is liking adding a 12th player on the field on passing downs. Go Pack Go!

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:32 pm

Lack of respect? Most of the "experts" are picking the Packers to win and to score somewhere around 24-31 points. I like the Packers' chances too, but Tampa Bay is playing better than the Rams were when they came to Green Bay. This is going to be a big test.

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NickPerry's picture

January 23, 2021 at 04:31 pm

What I said and apologize if I wasn't very clear but the Packers DEFENSE isn't getting the respect. Matter of fact Neon Dion just started questioning the Packers. He wonders are they "Physical" enough.

Dude, did you WATCH last week?

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:02 pm

People remember what happened to the defense against San Francisco last year. But I feel better about the defense than I did last year. They've been decent against the run lately.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:52 pm

Pettine had a terrible plan against Tampa. Lots of soft coverage and 3 and even 2 man rushes. Out ILBs were a mess and our hybrid was rusty as anything.

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NickPerry's picture

January 24, 2021 at 04:46 am

UGH....He sure did CW... WHAT a difference 14 weeks makes though.

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Minniman's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:59 pm

Just saw a tweet that Gary was late for a press engagement because he had to compose himself after sitting through a replay of last year's NFCCG in a team meeting immediately prior.

To your point Nick, I think that this year's D is getting a rather large dose of "cometh the hour, cometh the man" this week in training.

Sure both teams are going to come out strong and try and assert themselves in the 1st - but I'll really be looking at the Packers D in the 3rd (historically this year the Packers quietest segment). If they ascend in this quarter, I believe that they will prevail and put the Buccs away.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:30 pm

I like your outlook, NickPerry. This is a huge game and yes, many things are pointing potentially in the Packers direction. I hope the team goes out and takes advantage of this opportunity. Thanks for the comment.

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Swisch's picture

January 23, 2021 at 01:57 pm

The fun thing at game time is seeing which of our concerns plays out, and what surprises are in store for us.
I'm guessing fans and players and coaches are really ready to just play the game.
***
If the linebackers for the Bucs are fast, does that mean they aren't as stout against runs up the middle?
Do we bust them up the gut?
It'd be fun to overpower the Bucs, in combination with a creatively effective aerial attack.
***
Against Brady, do we cover the shorter routes tight and force him to beat us deep -- at least most of the time?
That strategy would also allow our rushers more time to get to Brady.
It seems good to mix things up against a savvy veteran like Brady, but our overall approach may be to keep him from picking us apart with the short throws that add up to long drives.
***
Born in 1962, I grew up as a Packers fan in the mostly dismal '70s and '80s -- the point being that it's such a treat to be able to watch the team in an NFC Championship.
The Super Bowl would be even better.
I hope the players realize what an opportunity this is for them. I really hope they cherish the moment and enjoy playing football.
Don't be afraid of mistakes, but no regrets from lack of focus or effort. If mistakes are made, minimize them with renewed determination. Anything can be overcome. Be resourceful, and play it all the way through.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:06 pm

The 70 and 80 teams were dismal, but how is that any more dismal than that same franchise having near a decade longer of HOF QB play on hand and total two SB wins? The latter seems more dismal, as the earlier has real justification for its lack of success.

Especially when looking at the teams and QB's that have out produced near 3 decades of HOF QB leading the team, while another HOF QB lead his team to 9 in near a decade less time.

The Packers need to win this SB or this franchise gets marked as the worst success story for a team, while having the best for 3 decades. That is the definition of dismal.

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Swisch's picture

January 23, 2021 at 04:37 pm

I guess it depends on the Eyes of the beholder -- but the commonality is to make the most of this opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl.
It's tough to do. Only two of the teams that make the playoffs each year play in that game, and very few teams do it all that often across the years.
Big Ben hasn't been there since he lost to the Packers in 2010. It's been longer for Drew Brees. Never for Philip Rivers.
Doug Pederson was on top of the NFL a couple of years ago as the winning coach of the Eagles against the Patriots in the Super Bowl -- now is recently fired.
It seems outside of Tom Brady and the Patriots, it's a rare feat to make it to that premier game. The impression I have of their success is a determination to maintain their poise and play it all the way through to the end.
I'll gladly take the Favre-Rodgers eras of mostly sunny over the long and dreary decades of mostly dismal cloudiness between Lombardi and Holmgren.
Yet, it seems any way one looks at it, a day like tomorrow is not to be taken lightly.
At the very least, no regrets for anything less than an epic effort.
At best, let's seize this moment for a huge victory as an additional page of shining lore in Packers history -- and then set about to keep it going.

5 points
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PeteK's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:12 pm

I agree the Pats changed the rhetoric. It is very difficult to win the SB.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:29 pm

I’d rather be who we have been since TT arrived than the Browns, Detroit or the like. Yes it’s better to compete than to be just poor. It’s not enough, but it’s so much better.

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:55 pm

Jesus H. Christ, Taryn, give it a rest. This old and tired story oozes out of you consistently as you try so hard to find another crab to stay in the basket with you. Dismal was having no chance, NONE, at post-season play. Dismal was losing to the Bears and Vikings year-in-year-out and having our faces ground in it by the Chicago and Minneapolis press. There is no comparison between the complete lack of competitive teams in the 70s and 80s and the playoff disappointments we've experiences in the Favre - Rodgers Era.

"It's criminal how the Dolphins squandered the Marino years. A horrible success story, one of the worst ever in the history of mankind. And the Saints! Only one Super Bowl victory with Drew Brees! Wasted years! Total failure. " -- Taryn, probably, on other sites

I do like your new handle, btw. Most times when people are stuck in a crab basket by themselves, a new perspective can help. You know, a new pair of eyes seeing for the first time.

Go Pack!

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Minniman's picture

January 24, 2021 at 02:41 am

For perspective, How about we ask some Lions fans what they’d rather - No chance (like they’ve had) or the proverbial ‘punchers chance’ like the Favre-Rodgers era gave?

When it’s all said and done, Bill Belichick will be spoken of like Lombardi - above Parcells, Shanahan, Johnson and Walsh (to name a few). His ability to construct a roster to quickly and efficiently play his style of football is astonishing.

To the other posters comments already, the Pats of the last decade and a half have been the exception - not the rule.

6 points
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murf7777's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:57 am

Taryn, you are one of the few who could come up with such a comment just before we all get to watch our Packers play in the NFC Championship game. I feel sorry for you, that you can’t be more present and just enjoy the moment we are in, without chastising their lack of potential success.

Maybe, you would enjoy being a Pats fan more so.

I’ll be sad if we lose, but happy as a lark my team is playing, and grateful that the packers have provided me this enjoyment. Win or lose it’s just a game for us to enjoy. Wishing you the same.

5 points
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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

January 24, 2021 at 10:34 am

We should probably cut Taryn some slack, understanding how horrible last week was for her. Just think, a Black female became Vice President. That's Taryn's worst nightmare realized. And it happened two days after Martin Luther King Day. She's still craving a David Duke day.

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edp1959's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Ahh does constantly coming on here and acting like a childish bully make you feel like a big boy?

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Bure9620's picture

January 24, 2021 at 04:16 am

I would highly doubt Pettine tries to take away the dink and dunk. Everything he has done is predicated on eliminating the big plays. Arians likes to take shots downfield.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:46 pm

This will be a heck of a game, enjoy the ride. I also remember the tough times in the 70s and 80s . Hopefully today the mistakes are minimal and the game plan is well executed and well crafted. Thanks for the comment.

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Packerpasty's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:32 pm

special teams....I hold my breath on anything special teams....can Crosby kick the ball into or out of the end zone anymore? If so just do it...jeez...a long runback is a killer...other than that, I'm sure they realize whats in front of them...Brady is a smart QB...this would be his 10th Super Bowl...holy wah, time for Arod to get another...

5 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:31 pm

Tampa aren’t any better statistically, but yes, I don’t trust any ST unit we field outside of Crosby kicking points,

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Bure9620's picture

January 24, 2021 at 04:26 am

Oddly enough the Bucs are terrible in kick coverage too. The 2 worst teams units going head to head....who Effs up first???

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Special teams make us all nervous but the Bucs aren't any better in that area. Hope it is time for A-Rod to get another. He's played so well all season. Thanks for the comment, Packerpasty.

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GregC's picture

January 23, 2021 at 03:33 pm

This is a good list of X-factors. I remember in that game against the Titans how Davante Adams seemed to relish playing on the snowy field. More of that, please!

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Thanks, GregC and heck yeah, bring it. Can't wait for kickoff.

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Rossonero's picture

January 23, 2021 at 05:25 pm

The fact that Tramon Williams was signed and now elevated to the game day roster must mean Kevin King is either a game time decision, or might try to play, but has a good chance of leaving the game. Williams has lots of familiarity with us, but to come in off the street, practice for 1-2 days and then play a lot of snaps is asking an awful lot. However, he is a consummate professional, so I expect him to be ready.

Pressure the QB and create turnovers. Simple as that. I know it may sound cliche, but it's true. We have to get some pressure on Brady this time around.

This article does not mention that the Bucs will get Vita Bea back to pair with Suh. It will no joke trying to run against that #1 run defense. I say run some outside zone runs and not up the middle. That's their strength.

Packers 31, Bucs 24

5 points
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Cubbygold's picture

January 23, 2021 at 08:10 pm

That's not what it means at all. It means TW is better than some of the backups on hand.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Vea will be back, but how many snaps he can take and how effective he can be remains to be seen. We now know King is active, so we'll see how often they use Tramon as an insurance policy. I think you're right about pressure and turnovers. Should be a great game. Thanks for the comment, Rossonero.

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Dragon5's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:04 pm

What can make a difference? Defensive alpha LEADERS emerge and execute with such confidence that no matter what Tampa Bay does, it will not matter. Kinda like the scene from the Matrix trilogy where Neo nonchalantly counters every possible move of the agents with little effort.

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Rossonero's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:15 pm

Agreed. We need our alpha dogs like the Smiths and Gary to show up and pressure Brady. Their O-line isn't elite by any means. Solid at best; Brady is just good at the getting the ball out quickly. And yes, we must counter like Neo. Speed of thought to read and react to what their offense (or defense) is doing will be crucial.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 12:58 pm

I'd love to see our leaders on D step up. They'll have to if we're going to win this game. Thanks for the comment, Dragon5.

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tonys247's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:19 pm

Watch Packers vs. Buccaneers Game Live Online :2021 NFL Conference Championship

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The opponent? Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with New England and has a chance to win a seventh for his new team.

One day after the Packers mostly dominated the Los Angeles Rams in a 32-18 victory, the Buccaneers punished the New Orleans Saints 30-20 at the Superdome. The same swarming defense that made life miserable for Rodgers and Co. in October produced four takeaways and made Drew Brees look like an old man.

That set up a made-for-TV showdown between two living legends. Rodgers and Brady will meet for only the fourth time in their illustrious careers. It will be by far the most important, with Green Bays infamous loss at Seattle in the 2014 NFC Championship Game robbing the world of a Rodgers vs. Brady matchup in the Super Bowl. Rodgers desperately wants to win a second Super Bowl. Brady desperately wants to win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick.

We ve got to go beat a great football team. Aarons playing incredible. Were going to have to play great to beat them,” Brady told Foxs Erin Andrews after the game.

The early forecast for Sunday is a high of 23 with a chance of snow.

While they never would have admitted it, the Packers probably would have preferred a matchup against Brees and the Saints. Never mind that Green Bay won at New Orleans 37-30 in Week 3 but lost at Tampa Bay 38-10 in Week 6. Brees, who has spent all 20 seasons playing in the warmth of San Diego or the dome in New Orleans, played in only one game with a kickoff temperature of 25 or colder. Brady, meanwhile, is a resounding 15-3.

Almost exactly three months ago, the Packers were outclassed by the Bucs. Coming off its bye, Green Bay raced to a 10-0 lead but Rodgers threw a pick-six and an interception on back-to-back possessions. The Packers never crossed midfield over the final three quarters. They had nine first downs on their first two possessions and four in their final 10.

Might need to add an extra finger to the scotch, but I do feel good about the team,” Rodgers said after a miserable afternoon. Ive played for so long, youre going to have a couple stinkers. I think about the game at New York many years ago [2012] where I hit Jordy (Nelson) on an out-and-up to start the game, and we lost 38-10. Tonight kind of felt like that, unfortunately, where you kind of got off to a nice start and then just nothing. So, I feel really good about our squad. Weve had four really, really good weeks, being efficient, winning, offensively being very explosive, defensively coming up with timely stops.

This is, I believe, an anomaly, not the beginning of a trend. And weve got a chance to prove me right next week.”

Rodgers was proven right again and again. The Packers will enter Sundays championship game with seven consecutive wins.

In a heavyweight showdown on Saturday, Green Bays top-ranked scoring offense overwhelmed the Rams top-ranked scoring defense. It will be a similar challenge on Sunday.

Brees was 19-of-34 passing for just 134 yards. Premier receiver Michael Thomas was shut out on four targets.

Rodgers, of course, is a far better player than Brees at this point in his career. Hes the likely MVP after throwing 48 touchdown passes in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. He led the NFL in passer rating, touchdown passes, completion percentage, touchdown percentage and interception percentage.

Tampa Bays defense is legit. The Bucs finished eighth in points allowed and first against the run with 80.6 yards per game and 3.60 yards per carry. Linebacker Devin White, who had 11 tackles and one interception against the Saints, had 10 tackles, one sack and three tackles for losses against Green Bay. The Bucs had five sacks in the first meeting.

While the reality is it will be Rodgers facing that dominant defense and Green Bays defense contending with the legendary Brady and his deep list of weapons, the hype will be centered on Rodgers vs. Brady – arguably the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

When it comes to big picture and you guys writing your stories and telling that whole story, which I know is a part of it, its two older guys,” Rodgers said before the Week 6 game. Hes a little bit older than I am – hes got me by about six-and-a-half or seven years – but we havent played a lot because hes been in the AFC the majority of his career and Ive been over here.

Hes obviously done it at the highest of levels for so long. Hes been an icon at the position. Hes been somebody that weve all looked up to for so many years as the standard of excellence. I think theres a ton of admiration and respect for the way that hes played the game from so many of us, especially us guys whove been in the same era for so many years with him and gotten to compete with him every now and then being an NFC guy. I think its good that we just enjoy it for what it is, have respect and admiration for the way that we have played over this time, and enjoy where were at in our careers now.”

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packerbacker-53's picture

January 23, 2021 at 06:55 pm

Our defense needs to be on fire. Hit hard and fast. No YAC. And by God and sunny Jesus we need Gary to make plays. I raved about him this off-season and he hasn't let me down. We need him now more than ever. We can take this win. The offense will work fine. This is a defensive moment.

3 points
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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:07 pm

Big Gary fan, followed him at Michigan. I think the defense can do enough to rise to the occasion. Thanks packerbacker-53.

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Cubbygold's picture

January 23, 2021 at 08:07 pm

This is easy. Not talking careers, talking about tomorrow...

Rodgers > Brady

Adams > Evans

A Jones > R Jones

Tonyan > Gronk

Alexander > Davis

KC > Vea

Home team > away team

MLF > Ariens

Packers won't run away with this game, but some comments on here about not being able to see GB win are just silly. GB is more talented at all the key positions. Play their game and we'll be talking about the Superbowl in 24 hours. Go Pack!

4 points
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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:08 pm

I think the Packers are the better team on paper, but they still need to win the game on the field. Won't be easy, but if they play well, they should win. Thanks for the comment, Cubbygold.

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mrj007's picture

January 23, 2021 at 08:22 pm

I don’t like the matchups. David and White are the best- period. If pack go right at this strength and win- it will demoralize the Bucs. Pressure Brady win turnovers - blah blah blah. Defeat the strength of the Bucs D and Pack wins. It won’t be easy and I hate to say it- I am not sure GB can. But I how so! Go Pack!

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:09 pm

I love it, mrj007. Vince Lombardi said, if you beat a team's strength, their weakness grows even weaker. I think the Pack can do it. Thanks for commenting.

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firemanshmoopy's picture

January 23, 2021 at 09:17 pm

One thing I'll comment on is the O-line is SIGNIFICANTLY better than it was in week 6. Rodgers was barely touched when he faced the #1 defense last week. With that, I feel we have an edge with a much stronger front line protecting #12 than what the Bucs first saw. Aside from special teams play, this football team is a SB caliber standout.
Go Pack Go!

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:10 pm

The offensive line will be key. They had their worst game by far in Week 6. Hope they keep doing what they've been doing lately. Thanks for the comment, firemanshmoopy.

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dpwiener's picture

January 23, 2021 at 10:08 pm

Playoff games are always scary because anything can happen. There can be bad breaks, mistakes, bad officiating, etc. The better team (in this case the Packers) won't always win. So while I'm very optimistic, I am far from over-confident.

But I'll throw in an extra factor: Intangibles. Ted Thompson just passed away, and while I doubt that the Packers will quite get an explicit "win one for the Gipper" speech, they may well get a "give it absolutely everything you have" close-approximation. I believe the energy will be there, and the Packers will do whatever is in their control to do. Obviously both teams want to win, but I think the Packers have the extra motivation. And that could turn out to be the difference.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:11 pm

I think it will be extra motivation, yes. It was Thompson who drafted Rodgers in the first place. You're right, anything can happen in a playoff game and they get remembered a lot more than your typical October contest. Thanks for the comment, dpwiener.

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Bure9620's picture

January 24, 2021 at 04:42 am

This game is pretty simple to me, it will be won or lost in trenches. With all the focus on Rodgers/Brady this is a trench warfare game. If our O-line plays as well as last week, we win. The Bucs will not be able to stop us.
Rodgers will pick this team apart. If we get out of character, the O-line gets whipped up front in the run and has trouble with the blitz? It could be week 6 again. Brady will get his yards. Just need to disrupt a few throws.

MLF got WAY too cute in week 6. This should be a simple game plan. Run up the middle, attack their aggressive corners.

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Swisch's picture

January 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

Maybe our "extra" blockers make the difference -- that is our tight ends and wide receivers and running backs chipping in to make holes and alleys and gaps for our running game to succeed.
Maybe this "extra" blocking has been honed in the weeks since the first Bucs game to become a formidable force that is uniquely ready to push back even the best defenses and bust big runs up the middle.
Maybe the illusion of complexity -- including the threat of jet sweeps and a trick play or two -- gives this "extra" blocking an added edge in pummeling the Bucs.
Maybe the excellence of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, supported by an exciting young group of supplemental receivers, is enhanced by this power game of "extra" blocking to put on a diverse and dazzling aerial display that wows the nation.
Maybe our "extra" blockers wear down the Bucs defense, and the Packers pull away in the middle of the fourth quarter to win in the victory formation.
Whatever happens, let's man up and get some good and clean and effective hits out there with our "extra" blocking -- so that those guys know they've been in a real battle of a football game.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:16 pm

It could be a difference, Swisch. I hope so. I think the blocking of our TEs and WRs have helped us all season. Whatever happens, we have to leave it all out on the field. Thanks for commenting.

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Swisch's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:49 pm

Got the idea from you, Gil, and it would've been good for me to mention that in the first place.
I don't know what other teams do with "extra" blocking, but I'm wondering if the Packers are at the forefront of coordinated blocking in the NFL.
In any case, it's something to watch for as we try to establish a running game today; turn short passes into exciting longer gains; protect Aaron Rodgers; and pick up those huge third down conversions.

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:13 pm

The trenches are always key in the NFL. I think the offensive line will shine after struggling in Week 6. Thanks for the comment, Bure9620.

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blacke00's picture

January 24, 2021 at 08:44 am

After a 3-6 inch snow fall the field conditions will be a concern for both teams. It will not be like playing on Raymond James stadium in early autumn with temps in the mid 80's. The game will be a tick slower for many players.

Stop saying that certain Buc's player played in colder weather...they didn't! Rarely do college teams ever playin truly cold conditions. The last college games in the North are mid to late November. In January the conditions are much different. Granted Brady and Gronk and maybe Suh, But I can't think of another.

If the field is as I think it will be, running the ball will be tougher not impossible. The passing game will be easier, it generally is in inclement weather.

That being said I love watching games in crappy conditions. Football was always an "outdoor" sport played under "any" conditions.
It was never meant to played indoors and and on a carpet. The media loves to whine about "the conditions" and make excuses for indoor and fair weather teams. It is what it is...play the game.

I see the Pack as the underdog and I suspect they do too. They need to earn respect in this game. the questions is can they do it?

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GilMartin's picture

January 24, 2021 at 01:19 pm

I think the weather will help the Pack to an extent and if it's a slow field, watch out for Jamaal Williams and maybe AJ Dillon.
I think the Packers do view themselves as underdogs in a sense and that will be a rallying cry for the team. thanks for the comment, blacke00.

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