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Brady, Rodgers Battle for NFC Crown

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will look to cover the spread vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.

Football fans are in for a treat Sunday as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers meet in the playoffs for the first time with a Super Bowl berth on the line. Green Bay (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) has won 15 of the last 16 meetings at Lambeau Field, but the Bucs (13-5, 10-8) routed the Packers 38-10 earlier this season in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers
  • Date/Time: January 24, 3:05 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Lambeau Field
  • TV Coverage: Fox
  • Opening Odds: Packers -4 | O/U 51 (Line History)
  • Buccaneers vs Packers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Green Bay has been favored by at least 4 points in 17 of its last 18 playoff games at Lambeau. The Bucs were a popular bet last week, closing as 2.5-point road underdogs at New Orleans, and early money moved the Bucs down to +3.5 by the time of writing. Green Bay closed as a 3-point road favorite when the teams met in Week 6.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Bucs have thrived away from home all year, winning their last seven road games by an average of 16 points. However, Lambeau Field has been a house of horrors over the years for the Bucs, who used to play there every season when they were part of the NFC Central. Tampa Bay has lost 15 of its last 16 trips to Green Bay, with the lone victory during that span coming in 2005 in Week 3 – before the temperatures start to dip in Wisconsin.

Of course, Brady is no stranger to cold-weather playoff games. Twelve of his 13 career AFC championship game appearances have come in frigid conditions in Foxborough, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Denver. Brady has thrown for at least 348 yards in four of his last five games, although he was limited to 199 passing yards in last week’s 30-20 win over the Saints.

Tampa Bay’s defense regularly set Brady up with short fields in the win over New Orleans, recording three turnovers in Saints territory. The Bucs also held New Orleans star receiver Michael Thomas without a catch, a promising sign as they prepare to face NFL touchdown receptions leader Davante Adams.

Adams was held to 60 yards on six receptions and zero scores in Tampa Bay’s win over the Packers earlier this year, when he was the target on two Rodgers interceptions that turned the game in the Buccaneers’ favor.

Green Bay News & Notes

Not even the best defense in the league could slow down Green Bay’s top-rated offense last week in the Packs’ 32-18 win over the Rams. Green Bay’s 484 yards were nearly 100 more than LA had allowed in a game all year, the Packers had two plays of more than 50 yards and Green Bay became just the third team in the last 20 postseasons to score on its first five possessions.

Although Rodgers continues to play at an MVP level, the Packers aren’t completely reliant on their star quarterback. Green Bay ran for 188 yards against LA, the third time in four games that the Pack have gained that many yards on the ground.

That support from the rushing game has allowed Rodgers to pick his spots rather than forcing throws into coverage. Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdown passes and just one interception in his last seven games despite failing to eclipse the 300-yard mark in any of those contests.

If the Packers can limit turnovers once again this week, you’ve got to like their chances against a Bucs defense that thrived on interceptions in its win over the Saints. Green Bay is 11-0 SU this season when it doesn’t commit a turnover, but just 3-3 (including the loss at Tampa Bay) when it gives the ball away at least once.

Betting Pick: OVER 51

Green Bay proved again last week that it can move the ball with ease against anybody, but the Packers might have trouble pulling away from a Tampa squad that has scored at least 30 in five straight.

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Shark Bites
  • Tampa Bay is 7-0 SU in its last 7 road games.
  • Green Bay is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 playoff games.
  • Tampa Bay is 1-15 SU in its last 16 road games vs Green Bay.