Packers vs Bucs Preview & Free Pick [October 18th 2020]

Green Bay (4-0) at Tampa Bay (3-2)
When: Sunday, October 18th, 2020
Where: Raymond James Stadium,
Tampa, Florida
Time: 4:25 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Tampa Bay -1/52

It’s another matchup of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks as the Green Bay Packers get set to take on their NFC North rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Rodgers has already beaten Drew Brees this season and will set his sights on Tom Brady’s Bucs in a Week 6 duel. Rodgers and the Packers have been flying high this season and they’ve done it the past two weeks without No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams, who is set to return after missing their last two games with a hamstring injury. Adams caught 17 passes for 192 yards before sustaining his injury in a 42-21 win over Detroit on Sept. 21. With a bye week, he’s had even more time to heal and was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. While the schedule has been kind, the Packers are still getting the job done, going a perfect 4-0 against the spread to start the season. They will face an angry Tampa Bay team who looked out of sorts last Thursday night in a 20-19 loss at the Chicago Bears in Week 5. Tampa Bay committed 11 penalties and its line allowed Brady to be sacked three times, along with being pressured all night. The Buccaneers scored 10 points in the first quarter, and couldn’t get moving after that. Tampa Bay lost a key part of their defense in that game with nose tackle Vita Vea breaking his leg with less than two minutes left.

This could be the final regular season meeting between Brady and Rodgers. The two have split their previous two matchups, Rodgers winning in 2014 at Lambeau Field and Brady taking the rematch two years ago in New England with the Patriots. The over has been favorable for the Packers lately, going 5-1 in their last six games overall and the over has also cashed in four of the last five meetings between these two teams. Meanwhile, the over is 8-0 in the Buccaneers last eight games following a straight up loss and 6-0 in their last six games in Week 6. Tampa Bay is only 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against NFC opponents and 1-3-1 ATS in their past five games when coming in as the home underdog. This game is currently at pickem, but the public is all over the Packers in this one.

Despite Adams being sidelined the last two weeks, the Packers are averaging a league-high 38 points per game while ranking second in yards per game (454.3), fourth in rushing yards (150.8) and fifth in passing yardage (303.5). Rodgers has been playing at an MVP level once again, leading the league in QBR, while throwing for 1,214 yards with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. They entered their bye in Week 5 following a 30-16 win over the lowly Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field on a Monday night. Rodgers threw 327 passing yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-33 completions. On defense, the Packers are sixth in the NFL with an 8.28 defensive sack percentage, but rank 19th in average passing yards per game allowed to opponents (247.5). Green Bay will play at the Houston Texans next Sunday afternoon.

Tampa Bay is still trying to figure things out on offense with the aging Brady running the show without a lot of key weapons. The offense ranks 12th in the league in points per game this season (27.8). In last week’s game at Chicago, the Bucs were missing wide receiver Chris Godwin and running backs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy. That has hurt the running game, which ranks 25th in the league at 99.4 yards a contest. Brady passed for only 253 yards and a touchdown without an interception on 25-of-41 completions against the Bears. Running back Ronald Jones led the backfield with 106 rushing yards on 17 carries, but Fournette should be back in the lineup this week. On the defensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay is third in the NFL with 17 sacks and third overall with six interceptions. The Bucs will be in Las Vegas next Sunday night to take on the Raiders.

I know the Packers haven’t played the toughest schedule, but they’re still winning and Rodgers is having another outstanding season thus far. The Bucs offense has been sloppy and out of synch at times. Green Bay should be able to get enough pressure on Brady to disrupt any flow. I like the Pack to come away with an easy road win here.

Pick: Packers PK
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