Saying the vibes surrounding the Green Bay Packers have changed drastically over the last might be the understatement of the year.
A week ago Packers fans were riding a high after their big win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. The hype around Jordan Love was increasing and the team could smell the playoffs.
Six days later, the anxiety that plagued fans earlier in the season has returned. That’s what losing to the New York Giants will do to you.
Thanks to that loss, the game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pretty much be a playoff game for Green Bay. Win the game and their chances of making the postseason are around 70%. If they lose, that number falls to around 30%.
Needless to say, there’s a lot on the line against Tampa Bay.
APC sat down with Evan Wanish of our sister site Bucs Nation to preview this week’s game in 5 Questions with the Enemy.
1. The Packers and Buccaneers are very similar. Identical records and both are in their first year after a Hall of Fame quarterback leaves. How would you say their season has gone?
Honestly the Bucs season has gone about how I expected it to. I figured they would be a competitive team, but not a Super Bowl contender by any means. Tampa Bay can certainly play hard and beat the average/below average teams at times, but they really struggle to hang with the top of the NFL. This is considered a transition year for the Bucs so it’s not the worst thing in the world, but you would like to see a bit more consistency out of them
2. How would you grade Baker Mayfield so far?
Baker Mayfield has been very similar to how the entire Bucs team has played. Inconsistent with flashes of brilliance at times and disappointing results at others. If I had to give Mayfield a letter grade, I’d probably go with a B. He isn’t gonna wow you but when he protects the football, he is an effective game manager and that is exactly what the Bucs offense needed out of their signal caller this season. Time will tell whether or not he stays in Tampa Bay beyond this year, but he’s been a solid answer for the team following Tom Brady’s retirement.
3. The Bucs are bad running the ball and the Packers aren’t the best at stopping it. How do you see the game playing out in the trenches?
The Bucs have struggled on the ground for most of this year, but have been much better as of late. They have gone over 100+ rushing yards as a team in 3 straight games and Rachaad White has started to heat up. I would expect the Packers to load the box in order to stop the run and force Baker Mayfield to beat them through the air. The team who wins the trench battle is likely the team who wins the game.
4. Tampa Bay is +6 in turnover differential, but they’re 0-4 when they turn the ball over multiple times. What’s the best way the Packers can force the Bucs to give the ball away?
Turnovers have been a huge key for the Bucs this season as you mentioned. The big reason the Bucs were able to win in Atlanta last week was because they won the turnover battle 2-0. Protecting the football in this one is gonna be key and it starts with Baker Mayfield. Before last week, he was making a bad habit of turning the ball over. Pressuring Mayfield May be the key to forcing him into some poor decisions that Green Bay can take advantage of. For the second straight week he will have to play a clean game if the Bucs want to win.
5. The DraftKings Sportsbook has the Packers as 2.5-point favorites despite Tampa being a division leader while Green Bay is in third. How do you see the game playing out and are there any prop bets you like?
Even though Tampa Bay is leading the South, that’s really not saying much considering how bad the division has been this year. Despite the loss last week, the Packers have been more impressive than the Bucs as of late so I think the Packers take care of business at home and win 27-23 so I like them to cover. As for a prop, I will go with Rachaad White over 21.5 receiving yards as he has become a huge part of the passing offense this season. It should be a good game, but the Packers being at home are just too much for the Bucs to handle.