Two of the NFC’s best teams face off Sunday and feature two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers is on a redemption tour as he leads the 4-0 Packers and top-ranked offense against Tom Brady’s 3-2 Buccaneers. Make no mistake, this is a potential NFC Championship matchup in a few months.
There are a few intriguing prop bets in this matchup, though only one actually features these two stars. We’re going to break this game down and give you the down-low on what’s to be expected and why.
Rodgers and the Packers have shocked many across the league with their output thus far. I, like many, doubted the surrounding cast and depth around him, but here he sits completing 70.5 percent of passes for 1,214 yards, 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s firmly in the MVP running.
The Packers’ rushing game is also healthy behind Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams will be back for this matchup. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have their moments of big-play contributions and playing opposite of Carlton Davis can bring positive plays. Adams should do well against Davis despite Davis’ obvious development and high-end upside each play.
I still wish they’d add a piece like A.J. Green, Golden Tate, or even Kenny Stills to push them over the top, but Rodgers can carve up the inconsistent and 16th-ranked Bucs passing defense with Adams back. He’ll need to because the Bucs boast the leagues’ best-run defense thanks to their wonderfully beefy front-seven.
Meanwhile, Brady’s adjustment to the Bucs hasn’t been as smooth as hoped. He’s been solid but not terrific, with an average completion rate (64 percent) and yards per attempt despite so many vertical targets (7.0). Some of the advanced numbers are surprising since Chris Godwin was out with a concussion.
For example, would you have known that Scotty Miller leads Tampa in air yards over Mike Evans? Or that O.J. Howard is with Isaiah Ford, Hunter Renfrow, and Gabriel Davis in air yards? These aren’t bad numbers or indicators but it’s shocking to see some of the numbers in this high-powered offense.
Brady has a tough matchup in terms of personnel. The Packers’ secondary is fast and smart, and their biggest weakness, Kevin King, is still an athletic chess piece who has some great moments. Brady can’t afford to be late in reads or else Jaire Alexander or Darnell Savage can make him pay with an interception.
They’re going to continue to utilize stud running back Ronald Jones and have Brady try to deliver chunk yard throws without exposing his physical limitations and slower processing speed. Jones is a svelte runner and really hitting his stride after a slow start and doubt from the fantasy community. He’s the real deal though and a great fit within this offense.
Both of these legendary passers have continued to age well and historically performed beyond expectations. I have more faith in Rodgers’ ability to beat the Bucs defense than the other way, and that’s going to dictate our picks. We’re going to look for the right mixture of value on these plays.