One of the marquee matchups of the 2022 season takes place in Tampa Bay as the Green Bay Packers travel to face the Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. This is a major meeting of NFC powers that has plenty of grabby headlines surrounding it.
Tom Brady against Aaron Rodgers. Two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League. However, they could both be without their best wide receivers. On Tampa’s side, Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin are out. Julio Jones is also dealing with an injury and could miss Sunday’s game too.
On Green Bay’s side, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, and Christian Watson all appeared on the team’s injury report this week, and Watkins has already been ruled out.
Both quarterbacks will have to be extra great this week as they face talented defenses. With that said, here are three reasons why the Packers will pull off the victory on the road in Tampa Bay.
Green Bay’s role players will step up
The goal of Tampa’s elite defense will be to stop Aaron Jones. Jones had 170 total yards and two touchdowns last week against the Chicago Bears. Linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David will look to prevent the former UTEP star from going crazy.
This means that Aaron Rodgers will have to look to his role players and lesser-known receivers. The Robert Tonyans and the Romeo Doubses of the world will have to step up for their quarterback. Tonyan led the league in touchdown catches among tight ends with 11 in 2020. Doubs showed signs of greatness by taking a screen pass 20 yards on a second and long against Chicago last Sunday.
With Lazard at less than 100% and Cobb being another question mark, it is players like Tonyan and Doubs who will have to step up for Rodgers. They will make enough key plays on Sunday to make a large enough difference in the ball game.
Green Bay Packers’ talented defense will rise to the occasion
The last time this defense faced Tom Brady, it was in an NFC Championship Game loss. However, what people forget about is that the Green Bay secondary intercepted Brady three times in the second half of that game.
Without Brady’s top weapons, Green Bay’s defense should have an easier time defending the pass. Look for Green Bay’s pass-rush to get after it too. After a poor performance in Week 1 in Minnesota, Rashan Gary and Preston Smith alone combined for three sacks against the Bears off the edge. With a banged-up offensive line, look for Green Bay to have success in the trenches again in Week 3 in Tampa.
Aaron Rodgers will be a superhero
In the Mike McCarthy era, Aaron Rodgers was “the guy.” He carried the offense on his shoulders and was the most dominant quarterback in the game. With Matt LaFleur at the helm, Green Bay has become more of a run-first team that utilizes their running backs through the air too.
The Tampa Bay defense is led by two All-Pro linebackers in Devin White and Lavonte David. Rodgers might not be able to count on his running backs to have a ton of success on Sunday. He might have to play better than a four-time MVP on Sunday.
Green Bay was able to go on the road last season in Week 3 and upset the San Francisco 49ers thanks to Rodgers being Rodgers with 37 seconds left and no timeouts. In Week 8, the ten-time Pro Bowl QB led Green Bay to an upset win over the undefeated Arizona Cardinals without his top three receivers.
Rodgers will have to play at that level on Sunday even if Tampa Bay is dealing with injuries offensively. Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are gone. He could be missing some of his key receivers due to injury too. Yet, a very strong case could be made that Rodgers is the most dangerous quarterback of all time with the ball in his hands. Fans will see why on Sunday in Tampa.