20

November

Packers vs. Buccaneers – Unfiltered Game Day Commentary and First Impressions: Green Bay 35, Tampa Bay 26

Raji celebrates after his touchdown run. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs are struggling. The Packers are not. This looks like another blowout win for the Packers, but I guess we have to play the game first. Personally, I see this game going more like the Rams game than the Vikings game. The Packers will always be in control, but it won’t be the complete domination that everyone expects.

With the Thanksgiving showdown against the Lions just a few days away, I also think the Packers might get a little bored today. Speaking of bored, you’ve probably had enough of my pregame ramblings. Lets get to the game.

Packers inactivies: CB Davon House, LB Robert Francois, LB Jamari Lattimore, LB Frank Zombo, OG Ray Dominguez, OT Chad Clifton and TE D.J. Williams.

Mike Neal makes his 2011 debut today. I thought the Packers would wait until the Thanksgiving game, but this is a nice surprise.

Safety Tanard Jackson is inactive for the Bucs. That’s going to make it even more difficult for Tampa Bay to slow down Jermichael Finley and Green Bay’s WRs.

First half

We get Joe Buck and Troy Aikman today. I love my touchdowns called in a monotone voice.

The Bucs convert on 3rd and 7 and Clay Matthews leaves the game with some sort of injury. Not a great start.

With Matthews on the sideline, AJ Hawk hits Josh Freeman’s arm on 3rd and 4 and the Packers offense will go to work. Dom Capers brought the pressure on that series.

Josh Sitton with a hold on the Packers second play. His struggles continue.

Well, that’s a new one. The Packers offense can’t get a first down, so P Tim Masthay runs for the first down after a Bucs rusher comes at him unblocked. Masthay also shows why he’s a punter by fumbling the ball out of bounds with nobody around him. He was actually credited with two fumbles and a fumble recovery on the play.

The Packers are driving after Masthay’s run. Rodgers just used James Starks as a checkdown option. Good sign.

So Masthay runs for a first down after a failed punt, then BJ Raji plows his way for a one-yard TD. The Packers are just trying to amuse themselves at this point, right?

20

November

Packers vs. Buccaneers: 5 Factors That Favor Green Bay on Sunday

When a 9-0 team like the Green Bay Packers welcomes a 4-5 club like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are going to be a number of factors that favor the undefeated team at home. And really, Packers fans probably don’t need much for comfort as they head into Sunday. I’ve haven’t witnessed much nail-biting in the lead up to Week 11. However, if you are one of those fans who is sweating the Packers upcoming game against the Bucs, maybe the following five factors will calm your mind.

1. The Bucs really struggle on D

The Packers offense is playing well enough right now that matchups become more or less a moot point. But when scanning the Buccaneers’ defensive numbers in 2011, it’s hard to ignore the kind of mismatch we could see on Sunday. Through nine games, the Bucs currently rank No. 31 in total defense (401.2 yards/game), No. 28 in pass defense (263/game), No. 29 in rush defense (138.2/game) and No. 27 in points allowed (25.9/game). According to Pro Football Focus, the Bucs are the third-worst rated defense in the NFL. It’s bad across the board. Aaron Rodgers and Co. is always a threat to put a big number on the board, but it looks like a near certainty on Sunday against this Bucs defense.

2. End of a tough stretch

Bucs coach Raheem Morris talked this week about how much harder the schedule has been in 2011, which is theoretically a true statement but also one that completely undermines their 10-win season from a year ago. They’ll finally get a break after Week 11. Sunday’s game with the Packers ends a horrific stretch of games for the Bucs which included the 49ers (8-1), Saints x 2 (7-3), Bears (6-3) and Texans (7-3). Including the 9-0 Packers, that’s a 34-13 record of teams that has faced the Bucs since Week 5. They’ve went just 1-5 during that stretch. If the Packers get up early at home on Sunday, the Bucs might be inclined to pack it in. Also, don’t forget that Sunday will be the first game that the Bucs have played in the cold in 2011. They’ve been either indoors or in warm weather in all nine games of 2011.

3. No pass rush