America’s Game of the Week features the storyline honey hole of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Two aging vets with vastly different methods of body maintenance. Maybe if Tom tried some ayahuasca he wouldn’t be so hostile towards the Microsoft tablets. Maybe if Aaron Rodgers stopped eating tomatoes he wouldn’t look so frumpy. The talking points of these two QBs is made ad nauseam. If only the turds at ESPN/FOX/every rinse repeat media cycle would talk about the Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The true storyline of the game is how both elite throwers are stuck with mediocre pass catchers as injuries/suspensions have taken the big targets out. Sammy Watkins was moved to Injured Reserve which is difficult to lose after his timely catches over the last few weeks. Tampa Bay will be without Mike Evans due to a scuffle in last week’s win over New Orleans. In addition to Mike, they will miss the sure handed Chris Godwin and a host of others with questionable tags; Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman and starting RB Leonard Fournette.

Green Bay is the beneficiary of unfortunate timing as Tampa struggles to field capable weapons. Tom Brady has won plenty of Super Bowls with guys nobody heard of so don’t start counting this victory ahead of time. We can all remember the Scotty Miller hail mary before half. Brady will not go gently into the night. Green Bay’s defense needs to remind Brady that his life of luxury outside of football might be more enticing.

As for Green Bay’s own injury concerns, the waiting game for star tackle David Bakhtiari seems to be coming to end as he looks ready to make his debut Sunday. Now that Rodgers has his two premier blockers back he should be afforded more time to calculate mismatches beyond strengthening the run game that shined against Chicago last week. The last matchup between these two teams with similar personel was the 2020 meeting where Green Bay had a 10-0 lead before crapping their pants thanks to QB1 throwing two irregular interceptions.

Aaron Rodgers

Pass Attempts – 32.5 (-104) Lower

Completions – 22.5 (-113) Lower

Passing Yards – 232.5 (-114) Higher

TDs – 1.5 (-106) Higher

Rushing Yards – 5.5 (-108) Higher

After playing Dak and Jameis, Tampa ranks 2nd in points allowed to Quarterbacks. Now the defense has to play a careful and cautious QB. Each of those QBs lacked positive run game script and leaped into desperation early. Rodgers will take shots as needed while resting on balanced offense.

Aaron Jones

Carries – 13 (-109) Higher

Rushing Yards – 50.5 (-114) Higher

Receptions – 3.5 (-143) Higher

Receiving Yards – 28.5 (-121) Higher

AJ Dillon

Carries – 12 (-112) Higher

Rushing Yards – 47.5 (-114) Higher

Receptions – 2.5 (+134) Higher

Receiving Yards – 13.5 (-121) Higher

Buccaneers haven’t allowed RBs to flourish as of yet although the offenses ignored the process. Even during losing game scripts, Tampa allowed less than 20 yards receiving to RBs in both games. The best way to beat this defense with RBs is through handoffs over receptions. With Watkins out, vacated targets in quick passing opens up opportunities for the RBs. Don’t sleep on more of Doubs in the short yardage passing.

Allen Lazard

Receptions – 3.5 (+120) Lower

Receiving Yards – 35.5 (-114) Lower

Receivers struggle against Tampa Bay. Lazard was looking hobbled in his return and would have tough sledding against this secondary even at full health. He can still run block on a bum leg better than most guys in the league.

Bobby Tonyan

Receptions – 3.5 (+125) Higher

Receiving Yards – 26.5 (-114) Higher

Bobby has been eased back into action and with the injuries at WR he will need to make an impact. Tampa is susceptible to strikes from the TE allowing 40 yards or more each game so far. 4+ catches to the position in each game as well. If Bobby is still on a limited basis, he can still hit the yards in one big chunk.

Outlook

Every win is important in the NFL. Beating Tampa on the road is crucial to take advantage of the NFC and start cutting our chops against the league’s best teams. Chicago was a great time but as the saying goes, they still suck. Sunday will be a quality test to see if the rookies are ready to step up and if the defense is as gritty as the preseason hopes made them out to be. Tampa can’t overcome the missing pieces and struggles to move the ball. Tampa’s defense will make it difficult to operate and will take a Rodgers masterpiece to open the game up.

Green Bay wins ugly 21-17