The Green Bay Packers are flying high sitting at 4-0. Fresh off a bye week, the Packers should be rested and rejuvenated for a showdown with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady and the Bucs lost 19-20 in week 4 against the Chicago Bears. The offense was less than efficient against a stout Bears defense. Brady went 25-41 with 251 yards and a touchdown. Running Back Ronald Jones helped carry the offense going over 100 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. They were without some top playmakers, O.J Howard, who is out for the year and Chris Godwin who missed his second straight game. Howard won’t be back, but Godwin has a chance to play against the Packers after practicing this week.
What are the key matchups that will help decide the week six battle between the Packers and Buccaneers? Lets find out.
Packers Run Defense vs Bucs Rushing Attack
Packers fans rejoice, all-pro Kenny Clark is back after missing the last two games. He will help shore up a rushing attack allowing more than 100 yards per game. Clark will anchor the middle of the defense against Ronald Jones and potentially Leonard Fournette. A combination of Jones and Fournette will provide a threat against Clark and the run defense. How effective the duo can be will impact how the offense operates. If Clark and the rest of the defense can shut down the run game, it will force Brady to make plays down the field, where largely he has struggled so far.
Packers Defensive Backs vs Bucs Wide Receivers
Mike Evans will be playing, though less than 100 percent with an ankle injury. Godwin will also be returning, also less than 100 percent, after returning to practice this week. He missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Jaire Alexander will shadow Evans, but who will cover Goodwin will be a question mark. Kevin King, who is opposite of Alexander has not practiced this week after popping up on the injury report with a quad injury. King is no stranger to injuries, has yet to play a full 16 game season in his four year career.
If King is not able to suit up, third year corner Josh Jackson will most likely have the duty of covering the speedster Godwin. No one worries about Alexander and who he is covering, Alexander is currently the number one rated corner according to Pro Football Focus. If the likes of Jackson and others are counted on to cover Godwin, Brady could pick on them and see a big game by Godwin and others.
Packers Offensive Line vs Bucs Pass Rush
The Packers offensive line has been great all season, only allowing three sacks, the least in the league. This in large part has been why the Packers offense has been so good all season and the top scoring offense in the league. The Buccaneers are currently second in yards allowed, resulting in an offense versus defense battle. They are fourth in sacks (17) with Jason Pierre-Paul leading the team with four. Shaquil Barrett is second on the team with three after leading the team in sacks in 2019. If the pass rush of Pierre-Paul and Barrett can get to Rodgers and disrupt the rhythm of him and receivers, that could help turn the tide for the Bucanneers. Pierre-Paul and Barrett will have to go up against all-pro David Bahktiari. The Packers offensive line who have done a great job protecting Rodgers.
These are the key matchups in a game that will assuredly come down to a battle between Rodgers and Brady. A battle of a top-ten defense in the Buccaneers, and the top scoring offense in the Packers.