There were plenty of strong player performances on Sunday night from the Green Bay Packers in their 27-10 win over the Chicago Bears. They will need to be all of that and better this Sunday in Tampa Bay against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Tampa will be missing some key players, including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Akiem Hicks.
Regardless of who is out there and who is not for Tampa, the Packers will need everyone to be at their best. As long as Brady is out there and Todd Bowles is coaching that defense, Green Bay needs to be ready. So, which players should we be keeping an eye on when these NFC powers take the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon? Let’s take a look.
Aaron Jones will have to cut through the Bucs’ D
The former UTEP star is far and away the best all-purpose offensive player on the Packers. On Sunday night, Aaron Jones had 170 total yards and two touchdowns. He is the only player not named Derrick Henry to have over 4,000 scrimmage yards and 40 total touchdowns total over the last three seasons. He is an absolute machine who can be a force on the ground and through the air.
Tampa has a couple of great inside linebackers in Devin White and Lavonte David. How Green Bay gets the ball to Jones in space will be key because those linebackers can play very fast. It’s up to coach Matt LaFleur and Rodgers to get No. 33 the ball and let him do his thing.
If the Buccaneers make it a point to focus on Jones, Green Bay might be okay with that. It means the likes of Sammy Watkins and Allen Lazard will have big games through the air and A.J. Dillon on the ground. One thing is for sure, Jones will have a big hand in Sunday’s game.
Rashan Gary needs to get in the face of Tom Brady
When the Packers last met the Buccaneers in the regular season (2020), they did not register a sack. In order for Green Bay to come out victorious, they have to get Tom Brady on the ground. In comes their Defensive Player of the Year candidate on the edge in Rashan Gary. He was an absolute force against the Bears on Sunday night.
Gary has increased his numbers every single season that he has been in the league (sacks, tackles, tackles for loss, QB pressures). This is the type of game where No. 52 has to show up. If he records a sack or two against a weak Tampa Bay offensive front, Green Bay should have no trouble frustrating TB12 and getting the win.
Amari Rodgers has to avoid mistakes, capitalize on open space
Special teams. Special teams. Special teams. That was one of the major storylines this offseason. So far, so good. That should be the headline heading into Week 3. Amari Rodgers has already had four punt returns in two games for 32 yards, making a quality impact on his team.
The Packers have not had a punt return for a touchdown since 2014. It would be an absolute dream for Packers fans to witness a return touchdown on Sunday. But all that Rodgers has to do is set up Aaron Rodgers and this offense with good field position. He has been able to do that early on this season so far.
However, he also has not made a critical mistake. As long as he doesn’t make a critical mistake this week, Green Bay should be in a great spot repeatedly on Sunday.