Bucs vs Packers NFC Championship Preview and Prediction

mattblively
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We were spoiled with Brady and Brees and now just a week later we get Brady vs Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game and it’s going to be one for the ages. 

The Packers were one of the most dominant teams down the stretch this season with their offense showing off huge numbers and their defense showing that without a true star, they could still be an impressive unit. Aaron Rodgers put up MVP numbers and he likely will win the MVP award this year. Rodgers threw for 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions, two stats that led the league.  He also carried his weight in QBR, posting a rating just over 84, also a league best. 

The Bucs on the other hand are in a position that they just aren’t that familiar with. The franchise hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007 and they haven’t played in an NFC Championship Game since they won the Super Bowl back in 2003. But this season was different with Tom Brady and company coming into Tampa Bay which included Rob Gronkwoski, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette and others. Their offense has been matched by their defense at times, especially last week when the team created four turnovers off of the Saints and allowed them just 20 points. 

These two teams have played each other once this season, way back in week six. It was a bloodbath and the Bucs scored 38 unanswered points after trailing early to win the game 38-10. This game is going to be much different this time around with both teams having drastic changes since that game. The Bucs were an inconsistent team on offense for most of the season, but in their last five games, they have averaged over 36 points per contest. The Packers were facing some of the same issues but their main issue was defense.  That unit has improved too, allowing just 25 points or less in their last seven games. In their last four games, they haven’t allowed opponents more than 20 points. 

While there is a lot of excitement for the Bucs heading into this game, head coach Bruce Arians knows his team has got to focus on the game in front of them. 

“We don’t play that game this week,” the head coach told reporters Wednesday when asked about practicing near the stadium as it prepares for the Super Bowl. “That’s the message to everybody. We play the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. You start thinking about the Super Bowl, you’ll get your ass beat and you’ll be packing your bags on Monday.”

 

NFC Championship Players to Watch: 

Carlton Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Davis was barely seen this past Sunday. That was a good thing considering he was guarding Michael Thomas and prevented him from catching even a single pass. This week he has Davante Adams on his plate. 

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers: If the Packers get through the Bucs strong rushing defense, it’ll be with Jones anchoring the team. It’s not an easy unit to get through but Jones could be a true game changer if he goes off.

Don’t forget to join Ryan Collins, Josh Philo and Whitney for the weekly Cruel Fan Sports Hour live on Facebook every Wednesday at 8:45 pm. Come listen to their thoughts on the biggest sports topics of the week and their predictions of the week’s biggest matchups, including who will win the upcoming championship games and our Super Bowl predictions. You are also invited to join the Collins Sports Cards Facebook group, where you can buy, sell and trade your favorite sports cards. 

NFC Championship Prediction: 

Bucs 32 Packers 27 

By: Matt Lively CruelFan.com

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