Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts’: NFC Championship
Get in the know and ready to go with the Packers-Buccaneers ‘Fast Facts’
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers get set to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship at Lambeau Field (2:05 pm), it’s time to get in the know and ready to go with Dave Schroeder’s “Fast 5 Pack Facts.”
#1 Rodgers vs. Brady: To be the best you have to beat the best. That’s a champion’s mantra. But this time, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will have to get past the most-accomplished QB of all time, Tom Brady. This will be the 4th meeting between the future hall-of-famers. The home team has won each of the first 3 contests. In Rodgers’ decade away from the Super Bowl? Brady has been to 5 Super Bowls. And this is astoundingly Brady’s 14th start in a conference championship game.
#2 Week 6 Rematch: The Packers got beat 38-10 by the Bucs in Tampa Bay back in Week 6. But a lot has changed since then. Green Bay feels much improved as a team. And they have more personnel available. Many of those players are now firing on all cylinders. WR Allen Lazard, ILB Christian Kirksey, and CB Kevin King all missed the first game. WR Davante Adams and DL Kenny Clark were returning from multiple-week injuries in that contest. And the 88-degree heat in Florida was not the most welcoming welcome-back environment. But we do need to watch the status of Kevin King. King did pop up on Friday’s injury report with a new back injury that has him questionable to play.
#3 Trash Talk: After that first meeting, Bucs’ ILB Devin White said, “We knew those guys didn’t deserve to be on the field with us because we’ve got too much talent and fly around to the ball.” The brash White talks a big game, and plays one too. He had 97 tackles and 9 sacks this season And White registered an interception and fumble recovery in his playoff debut last week. White is part of Tampa’s All-Pro tandem at inside linebacker with Lavonte David.
#4 Beating Brady: The key to coming out on top against Tom Brady is be able to get pressure. It sounds simple enough. But it’s not easy. Brady was sacked only 21 times in 16 games during the regular season. The Packers failed to register a single sack in the first meeting. Brady went 5-0 this season when not being sacked a single time. But 3 of the Bucs’ 5 losses came when he was sacked 3 times or more. Getting pressure on Brady and forcing errant throws is the #1 key to winning. Brady threw multiple interceptions in 4 of Tampa’s 5 losses this season.
#5 Start Fast, And Finish!: The Packers are no stranger to fast starts. Their 10-0 lead in Tampa was no surprise. For either side. The Bucs have trailed by double digits in 6 games this season. So Green Bay can expect a fast start today, but can’t rely on it to carry them to victory. As Packers coach Matt LaFleur knows all too well, Tom Brady owns 39 fourth quarter comebacks in his career (the 2nd-most in NFL history). LaFleur was an assistant on the Falcons’ team that saw its 28-3 lead disappear in Super Bowl LI. Brady seems to be an unkillable football zombie at times. You can’t count him out until the clock runs all the way out.
Prediction: Packers 37, Bucs 31 (OT)
As always, tune in to Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 for the best postgame coverage in the business, and also be sure to flip over right after the trophy ceremony for Action 2 News at 5:30. If the Packers win, we will be extending our coverage to cover every angle of the win.
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