Coming off a tough home loss, the Packers have to travel cross country to Tampa and take on a quality team, with a very good defense, while the secondary figures out life without CB Al Harris. I don't really like how that sounds. Rankings from Football Outsiders and NFL.com:
|Teams||FO Ranking||NFL Ranking|
|Packers Rushing Offense||11||15|
|Tampa Bay Rushing Defense||9||20|
|Tampa Bay Rushing Offense||14||14|
|Packers Rushing Defense||28||26|
|Packers Passing Offense||9||7|
|Tampa Bay Passing Defense||11||27|
|Tampa Bay Passing Offense||14||6|
|Packers Passing Defense||6||22|
|Tampa Bay Special Teams||17|
|Packers Special Teams||4|
According to the NFL stats, this looks like a matchup of two passing teams against two struggling defenses. Looking at Football Outsiders, it looks like two teams that are average or above in every aspect, except the Packers have an awful run defense. The Packers run defense isn't bad, except they've faced Adrian Peterson and Marion Barber in two of their first three games and Football Outsiders says they are the 2nd and 3rd best backs in the NFL so far. Run defenses tend to look bad against Dallas and Minnesota. So really these are two similar, in quality, teams, and the Packers have a noticeable edge on special teams. On paper, that appears to give the Packers a slight edge.
Here's the prediction I told to JScott over at Buc 'Em:
The X-Factor is Brian Griese. He can be great, see 2000 and 2004 seasons, plus he torched the Packers last season in Lambeau as a Chicago Bear. The rest of the time, his QB rating is below 75 or worse. Usually he's below average. If below average Griese shows up on Sunday then the Packers will win 24-13 (something like that), but if QB rating over 90 Brian shows up then I have trouble seeing the Packers winning without a killer turnover or special teams play going their way.