NFC Championship Game
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers
Sunday January 24th – 3:05 P.M. EST Kickoff
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI
Week 6 – Tampa Bay def. Green Bay 38-10
KEYS & TRENDS
- Teams to defeat a team by 20+ points in the regular season and then face them in the conf. championship are 13-3 in rematches (4-0 in last 10 seasons)
- Tom Brady has 32 career playoff wins, twice as many as the next closest QB in NFL history
- Tom Brady is 6-0 with 16 pass TD and 1 INT since the Buccaneers Week 13 bye
- Aaron Rodgers has a 1-3 record with 6 TD and 7 INT in 4 career NFC Championship games (all road games).
- The Buccaneers are the only team that Aaron Rodgers has thrown more INT (9) than TD (8) against in his career, including playoffs
- Brady is 9-4 straight up and 6-7 against the spread in conference championship games. The under is 8-5 in those matchups, including 7-2 in his past nine.
- Green Bay has committed a league-low 11 turnovers this season, including only two during its current seven-game winning streak. The Bucs have scored 27 points off five takeaways during their two playoff victories
- The Packers have allowed just 21 sacks all season but they allowed five in their regular-season loss to Tampa Bay
- Tampa Bay is looking to become the first team in NFL history to play in a “home” Super Bowl
As football fans we couldn’t have asked for a better quarterback match up. Considering all the accomplishments of Brady and Rodgers, it’s somewhat surprising they’ve only faced off three times previous to Sunday’s game, this marking the first playoff meeting between the two. Both have a ton at stake and will garner the headlines, but there is a lot to look forward to on both sides of the ball.
To me, this game comes down to two things: the Packers’ ability to get to Tom Brady*, and the Bucs’ ability to shut down Davante Adams and the deep ball. Before looking at the numbers I expected to lean heavily towards the Packers winning this game, but there are so many numbers pointing to the Bucs actually being the team to beat. How much of a factor home-field advantage will be remains to be seen, and Antonio Brown being out isn’t ideal, but it’s not like Tom Brady isn’t used to playing in the cold and he has a wide array of options even with Brown on the sidelines.
I’ve learned over the years that there are two things in sports you should never do: Underestimate Tiger Woods, and bet against Tom Brady. I’m not ready to pull the trigger on the Bucs winning this one outright, but i do like them at +3.5 and for this game to be a bit of a track meet. The longer this game stays close, the better the chances the Bucs can win; Brady’s clutch gene is a real and powerful thing. Here’s hoping this game lives up to to its potential, we could be in for something special
*Brady – In 13 wins this year, he averaged 1.1 sacks per game, saw pressure on 14% of his dropbacks and posted an 82 QBR. In five losses, sacks jumped to 2.2 per game, his pressure rate climbed to 27% and his QBR nearly split in half (44).
Tampa Bay +3.5