Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers both have a real job on their hands at the moment. They aren't playing with a full complement of offensive weapons, but they have always been known for their ability to make the best of any situation. They're both headed to the Hall of Fame, but first they'll stop at Raymond James Stadium for a matchup that takes place at 4:25 PM ET.
The last time these guys saw each other, they were on the same team, playing in "The Match," an exhibition golf event, competing against Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
This time around, it's safe to say there will be a bit more intensity.
At BetOnline, the Bucs are favored:
Tampa Bay Bucs -1 (-115)
Green Bay Packers +1 (-105)
Over 42 points -111
Under 42 points -109
Rodgers had a rough first week against Minnesota, as he was having some difficulty getting used to some new receivers. That same thing happened to him in last year's opener against New Orleans. But as he gathered himself after that disaster, he did the same last week, not necessarily riddling the Chicago Bears with his passing arm, but mixing in the ground attack, to the tune of 203 yards.
Aaron Jones is a beast. He's averaging 5.4 yards a carry after contact. And he's going to put pressure on the Tampa Bay defense, for sure. Rodgers is likely going to turn to his veteran receivers, although frankly, almost all of them have been spending a lot of time in the training room of late. Sammy Watkins won't play, and rookie Christian Watson is a likely scratch. God dammit
Brady does not have his group of receivers on hand either. The two top guys are out; Mike Evans is suspended for this game, having decked marshon Lattimore of New Orleans last week. Chris Godwin is sitting with a hamstring injury. Julio Jones, with an injured knee, is a game-time decision. Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman will probably be available.
Leonard Fournette is nursing a bad hamstring, but he is expected to go. That's important for the Buccaneers, because they may have to run the ball more than usual. Through two games, Fournette has 192 yards. Tampa Bay ran the ball less than 34% of the time in 2021, and that was the lowest percentage in the NFL. Through these first two weeks, that figure is slightly less than 30%.
But still, the Bucs may be in a better position to run it than the Packers. That's because Tampa Bay's defense may be in the better position to make stops. Aren't they? Last year they were animals up front. This year their stats haven't been as good, although it is admittedly very early on.
Only Buffalo has permitted fewer yards per drive than Tampa Bay has. So look, these guys can defend. You know, it's one thing for two teams handicapped a bit in the passing game to struggle on offense. But if they can turn to another way to move the chains, that changes the nature of the matchup.
Since we're figuring both of these teams will try to move it on ground, we'll look for a game where clock will be chewed up more than one would expect from a Brady-Rodgers encounter. So let's try the UNDER here.
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