We are already through two regular season games and looking forward to another exciting week of football. Here are my stat projections for the Packers playmakers followed up with a score prediction.
The Green Bay Packers will take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon for America’s game of the week. The Packers will be looking for revenge after the Buccaneers won the last time they played each other. Cornerback Kevin King is no longer on the team so Brady shouldn’t have a free touchdown to Scotty Miller again this year. The Packers are currently 1-1 and the Buccaneers are 2-0, this should be a low-scoring defensive showdown.
Packers Quarterback #12
Aaron Rodgers: 25/32, 235 pass yards, one passing touchdown, 15 rush yards, zero interceptions
With Tampa Bay’s elite defense, it’s tough to chalk up projections for Aaron Rodgers, especially with the wide receiver group banged up. With the pass rush, Aaron Rodgers won’t have the same amount of time in the pocket as he did against the Chicago Bears so I expect plenty of quick slants and check-downs. The running backs should be heavily involved in the receiving game for the third week.
Aaron Jones: 13 rushes, 78 yards, six receptions, 65 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown
AJ Dillon: 20 rushes, 58 yards, three receptions, 25 receiving yards
Both running backs have been heavily involved out of the backfield and in the receiving game. I expect this trend to continue with the banged-up receivers. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will be open in the flat as insurance receivers for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. I also expect a few screens to mix up the Buccaneers’ defense. Aaron Jones should be able to find the holes in the defense and rush into the secondary. Most of the runs for these backs will be short yardage but there will be one or two that break out for a large gain.
Injured Packers Receiving Group
Allen Lazard: Three receptions, 35 receiving yards
Christian Watson: Three receptions, 15 receiving yards
Randall Cobb (illness): Three receptions, 32 receiving yards
Romeo Doubs: Four receptions, 38 receiving yards
Robert Tonyan: Three receptions, 25 receiving yards
Wide receiver Allen Lazard and tight end Robert Tonyan should be involved more on offense as they have been on snap counts to start the season. Each game they will receive more time on the field until their injuries are in the rearview mirror. With the recent news of Sammy Watkins hitting the injured reserve with a hamstring injury, the rookies will be looked upon to step up and help out. Head coach Matt LaFleur told the media that rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs will receive extra snaps on offense and will be featured more.
Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson, a Tampa, Florida native is excited to play in front of his home crowd. We could see an increase in his production and plays as he looks to show off what he can do in front of friends and family. Randall Cobb has been battling an undisclosed illness this week that resulted in him not practicing for the last three days. Depending on the illness, Cobb should be ready to go Sunday but his snaps may be limited. Lazard was on the injury report all week but that looks to be maintenance related as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that he picked up in practice a few weeks ago.
Packers Special Teams
Mason Crosby (illness): One extra point, four field goals
Pat O’Donnell: Four punts, 48 punt yard average, three punts inside the 20
In addition to the defensive showdown, both special teams’ squads will be heavily involved. The Packers will be able to stretch the field and score one touchdown but everything else will be up to Mason Crosby. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia noted that he fully anticipates Crosby to suit up and be available for Sunday’s contest in Tampa Bay. Crosby has been excellent so far after having a minor procedure done in the offseason to his kicking leg.
Punter Pat O’Donnell has done very well to start the season for the Packers. As a former Chicago Bears punter, he joined the Packers during the offseason. He has helped fill a void in special teams with his skill to pin the opposing team within their 20-yard line. The Packers won’t be able to consistently get into Tampa Bay’s territory so O’Donnell should be active on fourth downs. I expect four punts with three of them landing within the 20-yard line. One of the punts will skate through the back of the endzone.
Green Bay Defense: Three sacks, one interception, 12 points against
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry has had another lackluster start of the season for the Packers’ defense. Packers fans tolerate him but no one really likes the fact that he’s on the Packers coaching staff. With the Buccaneers’ receiving group also banged up, the secondary won’t have to face the elite receivers that Tampa Bay normally has. This should help limit the big plays as long as the defensive scheme is good. The Packers have the elite skill to be a top-five defense.
With that said, nose tackle Kenny Clark and the edge linebackers will continue their high percentage of pass rushing against pissed-off Tom Brady. Tom Brady is averaging one tablet throw per game but we could see two plus this game. Should be a fun time on the Buccaneers sideline. The linebackers should be able to force Brady to rush a throw that gets picked off by the Packers’ secondary. Cornerback Jaire Alexander is hungry after picking off Justin Fields in Week two.
Packers Win 19-12 Against The Buccaneers
The over-under for this game is set at 42 points with the Buccaneers favored by one point. This game should end in the under hitting fairly easy and there won’t be many points on the scoreboard. The game will come down to field goals and defensive playmaking. Both squads tend to rush the quarterbacks a lot so there will be less upside in throws downfield. The winner of this showdown will be whichever team makes the least amount of mistakes, including penalties.
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