Lambeau Field will be the setting for a head-to-head matchup the football world long has waited for.
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are set to square off Sunday for the first time in the NFL playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers earned a spot in the NFC Championship Game with road wins over the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints. The top-seeded Green Bay Packers took down the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round after enjoying a first-round bye.
The winner of this highly anticipated clash will move on to play in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Bucs.
Here is our betting preview for the Bucs-Packers showdown. The line and total are per consensus data. The props are provided by FanDuel.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (-3) Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay, to the surprise of many, did not cover in the wild-card round. A surprisingly solid performance from Taylor Heinicke paved the way for Washington, a 10-point underdog, to cover the spread in a 31-23 loss at FedEx Field. The Bucs rebounded last weekend with a 30-20 win over the Saints as 3-point underdogs at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Rams made it a little interesting against the Packers, but Rodgers and Co. eventually covered seven points in their 32-18 triumph. Green Bay has notched ATS wins in five of its last season games entering Sunday. The Pack only really have one glaring blemish on their schedule to date: a 38-10 loss to the Bucs in Week 6 as 2.5-point favorites.
First-half line, total
Packers -2.5, 26.5
First touchdown scorer
Davante Adams +500
Aaron Jones +700
Leonard Fournette +1000
Robert Tonyan +1000
Chris Godwin +1100
Mike Evans +1100
Tom Brady over/under 285.5 yards
Aaron Rodgers over/under 283.3 yards
Aaron Jones over/under 57.5 yards
Leonard Fournette over/under 42.5 yards
Davante Adams over/under 89.5 yards
Chris Godwin over/under 65.5 yards
Mike Evans over/under 62.5 yards
Allen Lazard over/under 46.5 yards
Marquez Valdes-Scantling over/under 31.5 yards
Rob Gronkowski over/under 27.5 yards
Brady and the Bucs are garnering heaps of praise heading into the NFC title game, and deservedly so. But maybe we shouldn’t be so overwhelmed by Tampa’s last two victories as it pertains to the team’s chances of taking down Green Bay.
The Bucs made Heinicke look like a legitimate starting quarterback in his second career NFL start. Tampa Bay’s defense buckled down more against New Orleans, but let’s call it like it is with Drew Brees. He’s miles and miles past his prime and appeared to be dealing with multiple injuries.
This is all to say the Bucs are running into an entirely different animal in Rodgers, the likely MVP for the 2020 season. Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 12 and threw three-plus touchdowns in all but four of the Packers’ games this season to date. We’re not saying the nine-time Pro Bowl selection is going to completely thrash the Bucs, but we’re really not sure if any defense can slow him down right now. After all, he’s coming off a 296-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Rams, arguably the league’s best defense.
Snow also is in the forecast for Sunday. This shouldn’t be an issue for Brady, who dealt with everything Mother Nature has to offer over the course of his 20-year run in New England. But the same can’t be said for his Bucs teammates, most of whom haven’t played on a stage this grand.
Rodgers has played in four career NFC title games, none of which took place in Green Bay. We believe he’ll make the most of this opportunity and lead the Packers to Super Sunday.