When I first saw this game on the Green Bay Packers schedule, I thought it was a likely win. Both teams finished 10-6 in 2010, but the Buccaneers only outscored their opponents by a combined 23 points, which indicates that their record should have been closer to 8-8. Also, home field advantage kicks in when you combine distance and temperature change, so it seemed like they already had two strikes against them.
And so far this season, the teams are heading in opposite directions. While the Bucs have a respectable 4-5 record, they've lost their last three (including an ugly 37-9 home loss last week to the Texans) and they've been outscored by 77 points this season. Here are some team rankings from Football Outsiders:
The two key stats are pass offense and pass defense. While the Packers are ranked No. 1 in pass offense, if it were a letter grade it would be A+++. They're comfortably ahead of the Patriots at No. 2, and miles ahead of the Saints at No. 3.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers aren't just the second worst pass defense in the NFL, they're several percentage points worse than the third worst (Chiefs). What the Packers did last week to the Vikings pass defense should happen again next Sunday.
And with the Buccaneers coming in at an anemic 25th in scoring (17.3 per game) it's hard to see how they can score the 30 points needed to beat the Packers. With the line at 14, everyone placing money on the game would seem to agree.
Packers 31, Buccaneers 13.