How to Watch, Prediction: Packers at Buccaneers

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers (4-0) will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) in a big NFC game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., at 3:25 p.m. Sunday. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Watch

Fox: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter).

How to Listen

Packers Radio Network (50 stations in four states): Wayne Larrivee, Larry McCarren and John Kuhn (sideline).

SIRIUS: 83 (GB), 135 (TB) | XM: 385 (GB), 225 (TB).

Worth Knowing

The Line: Packers by 1 at FanDuel and most sportsbooks. The overwhelming amount of money has been bet on the Packers as well as on the over/under of 54.5 points.

Referee: Jerome Boger.

Series: Packers lead 32-21-2.

Streaks: Packers have won last three.

Last game: Packers 26, Buccaneers 20 (OT) on Dec. 3, 2017. In his only carry of the game, Aaron Jones broke into the clear for a 20-yard touchdown to win the game. Brett Hundley was just 13-of-22 for 84 passing yards.

Last game at site: Packers 20, Buccaneers 3 on Dec. 21, 2014.


The kickoff temperature in Tampa will be 88. That’s about double the temperature of Green Bay. The Packers, typically, would have received a scheduling break with their bye week. But the Packers played on Monday and the Buccaneers lost at Chicago on Thursday, so that advantage has been mitigated a bit.

There are two big keys. First, it’s the availability of cornerback Kevin King, who is questionable with the quad injury that knocked him out of the last game. He’s the logical matchup against Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, who has six touchdowns catches. If King can’t play, the Packers have a big problem. Second, it’s whether the Packers can run the ball against the Bucs’ rock-solid run defense. The Buccaneers are allowing about 2.6 yards per carry. That’s almost two-thirds of a yard better than any other team. If Green Bay can run the football, it will take some of the bite out of the Bucs’ pass rush.

Coming off a loss, the Buccaneers will be hungry to rebound. "He’s got a great record coming back after losses. He’s been fired up and ready to go, that’s for sure," coach Bruce Arians said of Brady. Sometimes, that’s the critical difference.

Buccaneers 34, Packers 24. (Record: 3-1.)

The Quarterbacks

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns vs. no interceptions, good for a passer rating of 147.5, in the Packers’ romp over the Falcons in Week 4. It was his 25th game with four-plus touchdown passes, the fourth-most in NFL history. In his last game against Tampa Bay, a 20-3 victory in December 2014, he was 31-of-40 passing for 318 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a 108.1 rating. He is aiming for his third consecutive road game with three-plus touchdown passes and a rating of at least 120. Rodgers is No. 1 in NFL history with a 103.0 passer rating.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passed for 253 yards and one touchdown in last week’s loss against Chicago. In five career starts against the Packers, he’s thrown 10 touchdowns vs. three interceptions, good for a 93 passer rating. He has a 100.5 rating in 21 career starts vs. NFC North opponents. Brady is No. 6 in NFL history with a 97.0 passer rating. He trails only Drew Brees in terms of completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns. His 553 touchdown passes trail Brees by only three.

Did You Know?

Green Bay (4-0) is off to its best start since beginning the 2015 season 6-0. Packers running back Aaron Jones and Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans are tied for third in the NFL with six touchdowns apiece. Both players have reached the end zone in each of their team’s games this season.

Rodgers and Brady are meeting for only the third time in their illustrious careers. The teams are 1-1 in those matchups. In 2014, the Packers beat the Brady-led Patriots 26-21 at Lambeau Field. Rodgers was 24-of-38 passing for 368 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 112.6. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s fourth-down breakup of a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski clinched the victory. Gronkowski is the Bucs’ starting tight end. 

With at least two touchdown passes and zero interceptions, Rodgers would become the first player in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes and zero interceptions in each of his team’s first five games of a season.

Pregame Reading

Giant Preview: Analytics look at Packers; Pettine vs. Brady

Rodgers vs. Brady: Not-so-classic trilogy

Beating Blitz: That will be critical

Protecting Rodgers: The fine line

X-Factors: Two key players

Thermometer: Weather could be huge factor

Reasons to Worry: Three trouble spots

Injury Report: King “game-time” decision

Longest Yard: Trouble from the 1

Five Keys: Critical factors

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