Sun, 01 Nov 2020

2020 Game Preview: Packers-Buccaneers, Week 6

Buccaneers
16 Oct 2020, 18:26 GMT+10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Buccaneers will test their NFC playoff-race mettle on Sunday when they get a visit from the undefeated Packers, the league's highest-scoring team behind MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers Scott Smith

We've seen Brady-Brees. Now it's time for Brady-Rodgers to take center stage.

The Green Bay Packers come to Tampa in Week Six for a showdown between two prime NFC playoff contenders, putting their undefeated record on the line against the 3-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game will mark just the third meeting between the Packers Aaron Rodgers and Brady, who spent 20 seasons in New England before joining the Buccaneers in 2020.

Brady and Rodgers have combined to win five of the last 13 NFL Most Valuable Player Awards, Brady owning three to Rodgers' two. Brady has a commanding lead in Super Bowl championship rings, six to one, but Rodgers is the NFL's all-time leader in passer rating (103.0) and amazingly is on pace for his best statistical season yet.

The two have faced off twice before, each winning once. Rodgers and the Packers won, 26-21, in Week 13 of the 2014 campaign; it was the fifth straight win for the Packers and the only loss the Patriots suffered in an 11-game span. Both teams finished the regular season 12-4 but it was Brady and the Patriots who went on to win Super Bowl XLIX over Seattle. The rematch came in 2018 in Foxborough, with Brady's squad winning, 31-17. That season also ended in a Super Bowl win for the Patriots, this time over the Rams.

The Buccaneers return home after a Thursday night game in Chicago, and they'll try to remain undefeated at Raymond James Stadium after beating Carolina in Week Two and the L.A. Chargers in Week Four. The Bucs will have a larger crowd in attendance for their third home contest; after a game with empty stands in the home opener and a soft open in Week Four, the stadium will be roughly one-quarter full for the Packers' visit.

The Buccaneers come into the week in a three-way tie at the top of the NFC South division, as Carolina has won three in a row since losing in Tampa in Week Two and the Saints dropped the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime on Monday night to match their division foes' 3-2 record. The Buccaneers face one of the NFC's toughest opponents during a stretch in which they play five prime-time contests in a span of seven outings.

The Bucs will be trying to slow down the league's highest-scoring team, with Aaron Rodgers commanding an offense that averages nearly 450 yards per game and has not even come close to slowing down despite a rash of injuries at the receiver position. Tampa Bay's young defense is finding its groove, with one of the NFL's most effective pass rushes and a young secondary that has made a string of big plays.

The Buccaneers-Packers rivalry was jump-started in the 1990s when both franchises developed into perennial playoff contenders and Green Bay's legendary quarterback Brett Favre had one exciting struggle after another with one of the NFL's best defenses. It's Aaron Rodgers now, and Lavonte David at the core of a talented defense instead of Derrick Brooks, but the stakes are similar and the battle familiar. The Packers are looking to remain at the front of the NFC playoff hunt, while the Buccaneers are trying to prove they belong in the upper echelon. It could be one of the most important weekends of the 2020 season for Tampa Bay.

GAME AND BROADCAST DETAILS

Green Bay Packers (4-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)

Sunday, October 18, 4:25 p.m. ET

Raymond James Stadium (capacity: 65,618...roughly 25% capacity will be in attendance)

Tampa, Florida

Television: FOX (Local WTVT Channel 13)

TV Broadcast Team: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst), Erin Andrews (reporter)

Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station

Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (reporter)

ALL-TIME HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES

For the second week in a row, the Buccaneers will square off against an opponent they used to see a lot more often, as Sunday's game is another NFC Central reunion. The Buccaneers and Packers spent 25 seasons together in that "Black-and-Blue Division" before expansion and realignment created Tampa Bay's new home, the NFC South. All of those years of home-and-away season series, plus additional matchups every few seasons since '02 have led to 54 previous meetings, in which the Packers hold a 32-21-1 all-time edge.

Depending upon how you look at it, the Bucs-Packers series has been pretty even for the last couple decades or its been a little lopsided of late. The two teams have split their last three games, their last 10 games and their last 16 games. However, Green Bay has won the last three after the Bucs mounted a three-game winning streak from 2005-09.

The Packers last three decades have been defined by an incredible run of elite quarterbacking, and the Buccaneers helped usher that era in. Since 1992, Green Bay has been able to run out Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for a total of 431 regular-season starts, with only 21 games started by another quarterback. In Week Two of 1992, the Buccaneers beat the Packers, 31-3, and prompted Mike Holmgren to bench Don Majkowski for Favre at haltime. After one more Majkowski start in Week Three, the Packers turned to Favre and he then started 253 straight games. Aaron Rodgers succeeded Favre in 2008 and began his own incredible run.

As such, it was 25 years between the Majkowski start and the Bucs facing any Green Bay quarterback other than Favre and Rodgers. Brett Hundley started in place of an injured Favre in a Bucs-Packers game at Lambeau Field in 2017, helping the home team pull out a 26-20 lead. The Bucs' most recent win in the series also featured a notable start by a quarterback, as it was the first one for then-rookie Josh Freeman in 2009 after an 0-7 start by Tampa Bay. The Bucs pulled off a major upset over a playoff-bound Packers team, winning 38-28 in a game that included a blocked punt return for a punt by Ronde Barber and a pick-six by Tanard Jackson.

On their way to a Super Bowl championship, the Buccaneers faced the Packers in 2002 despite moving out of the rebranded NFC North Division. Brian Kelly had two of Tampa Bay's four interceptions off Favre in a 21-7 decision at Raymond James Stadium. Another notable win for the Buccaneers came early in their 2005 division-winning campaign, as red-hot rookie Cadillac Williams ran for 158 yards. Two Joey Galloway touchdowns and two Will Allen picks helped the Bucs escape Lambeau Field with a 17-16 decision. The Bucs-Packers series also includes the only tie in Tampa Bay's franchise history, a 14-14 final in 1980 in which Green Bay actually rolled up 569 yards of offense.

The memorable turnaround the Bucs' franchise experienced in the '90s after a decade-and-a-half of futility began in 1997, but the Packers still won the Battle of the Bays three times that year, including the one that eliminated Tampa Bay from the playoffs. That was part of a six-game winning streak in the series for Green Bay, as Favre and the Packers became the hurdle the Buccaneers had to overcome in order to go from good to great. They finally did so with a 24-22 win in December of 1998 that included touchdown catches of 64 yards by Jacquez Green and 62 yards by Reidel Anthony.

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS

* Packers Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett began his NFL coaching career in Tampa, spending the 2006-07 seasons as an offensive quality control coach on Jon Gruden's staff. His father, Paul Hackett, was the Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach from 2005-07.

* Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles worked a a college scouting assistant for the Packers in 1995 and 1996.

* Green Bay Defensive Backs Coach Jerry Gray played nine seasons in the league as a defensive back, the last one with Tampa Bay in 1993.

* Packers Senior Analyst Butch Barry also broke into the NFL with the Buccaneers, spending four seasons (2015-18) as the team's assistant offensive line coach.

* Green Bay's Vice President of Communications Jason Wahlers was a member of the Buccaneers' public relations staff for nine years (2002-10) beore joining the Packers in 2011.

SENIOR COACHING STAFFS

* Tampa Bay:

* Head Coach Bruce Arians

* Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin

* Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles

* Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich

* Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong

* Green Bay:

* Head Coach Matt LaFleur

* Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett

* Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine

* Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Mennenga

KEY 2020 ROSTER ADDITIONS

Buccaneers:

* QB Tom Brady (UFA)

* RB Leonard Fournette (FA)

* TE Rob Gronkowski (T-NE)

* T Joe Haeg (UFA)

* WR Tyler Johnson (5th-round draft pick)

* RB LeSean McCoy (FA)

* C A.Q. Shipley (FA)

* K Ryan Succop (FA)

* RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn (3rd-round draft pick)

* S Antoine Winfield, Jr. (2nd-round draft pick)

* T Tristan Wirfs (1st-round draft pick)

Packers:

* TE Josiah Deguara (3rd-round draft pick)

* RB A.J. Dillon (2nd-round draft pick)

* LB Christian Kirksey (FA)

* QB Jordan Love (1st-round draft pick)

* LB Kamal Martin (5th-round draft pick) - currently on injured reserve

* G Jon Runyan (6th-round draft pick)

* T Rick Wagner (FA)

ADDITIONAL 2020 CHANGES OF NOTE

Buccaneers:

* Though it is noted in the "Roster Additions" section above, it's worth further elaborating on the extremely dramatic change the Buccaneers made at the game's most important position. After five seasons, the team moved on from Jameis Winston, the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, and filled the starting quarterback spot with the man many consider the G.O.A.T., former Patriot Tom Brady. Brady brings 20 years of experience and six Super Bowl championship rings to Tampa in one of the most notable free agent signings in NFL history. Brady's move to the Buccaneers also prompted former Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement and he was promptly traded to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round draft pick.

* Tampa Bay debuted new uniforms in Week One in New Orleans. The uniforms are largely inspired by the ones the team wore during its Super Bowl era and overall from 1997 through 2013. Some elements of the uniforms introduced in 2014 remain, such as the sharper, more detailed skull-and-crossed-swords logo and the larger flag on the helmet (though not as large as before). The uniforms debuting in 2020 also include an all-pewter version that is completely unique in team and NFL history and was worn for the first time in Denver in Week Three.

* The Buccaneers have two new additions to their coaching staff in 2020: Defensive/Special Teams Assistant Keith Tandy and Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach Cory Bichey. Tandy worked at the high school and college levels in 2019, the latter at his alma mater of West Virginia, but he begins his NFL coaching career with the same team that drafted him in 2012. Tandy spent six seasons in Tampa as a safety and special teams standout before finishing his playing career in Atlanta in 2018. Bichey comes to the Buccaneers from Mississippi State University, where he previously worked under current Buccaneers Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Anthony Piroli.

* The Buccaneers used their franchise tag during the 2020 offseason for the first time in eight years. That tag was employed to retain outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, who went from a rotational reserve in Denver to the NFL's 2019 sack leader after signing with the Bucs as an unrestricted free agent. Barrett's 19.5 sacks in his first year with the Buccaneers broke Warren Sapp's single-season franchise record and made him one of the team's top priorities in the offseason. Barrett and the Bucs were unable to reach agreement on a long-term deal during the 2020 offseason, in part due to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so Barrett will play on the tag's one-year contract this fall.

* The Buccaneers lost one of their key defensive players in Week Five when third-year defensive lineman Vita Vea suffered a broken leg and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Vea recorded 2.0 sacks through the first five games and was a key member of the team's league-leading run defense.

Packers:

* Green Bay used a first-round pick on a quarterback for the first time in 15 years, trading up to the 26th overall spot to select Utah State's Jordan Love. Love now backs up Aaron Rodgers, who was the team's last first-round quarterback in 2005. The Packers may view Love as their eventual replacement for Rodgers as the team's next long-term answer at the position, but that move is not looking particularly imminent with Rodgers recording a 128.4 passer rating through Green Bay's 4-0 start, with 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

* On October 3, the Packers put two starters on injured reserve, one on each side of the ball. Wide Receiver Allen Lazard underwent core muscle surgery after starting the first three games; he remains the team's leader in receiving yards with 254. Linebacker Christian Kirksey sustained a pectoral injury in Week Three. Under this year's altered injured reserve rules, both Lazard and Kirksey can return to the active roster during the season, but they must miss at least three games, which means they will not be available when the Packers come to Tampa.

* The Packers signed wide receiver Devin Funchess to pair with Davante Adams but Funchess elected to opt out of the season based on COVID-19 concerns. Otherwise, the team made no additions to their wide receiving corps beyond promoting former practice squad players Malik Taylor and Darrius Shepherd.

* Green Bay also moved on from long-time right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. Billy Turner, a 2019 addition who started all 16 games at right guard for the Packers last year.

* In March, the Packers promoted Luke Getsy to the position of quarterbacks/passing game coordinator. He had spent his first season on Matt LaFleur's staff as the quarterbacks coach. LaFleur also promoted offensive assistant Jason Vrable to wide receivers coach. That position was vacated in Januaru when Alvis Whitted was dismissed. Offensive Quality Control Coach Connor Lewis and Senior Analyst Butch Barry are also new additions to the coaching staff in 2020.

TOP STORYLINES

Rested...And Recovered? - Players for both the Buccaneers and Packers were able to relax and watch some football on Sunday. While the Bucs were enjoying a "mini-bye" following their Thursday night game in Chicago, the Packers had the whole week off. That additional rest time was important for both teams, as each one is dealing with some significant injuries. Most notably, hamstring injuries have caused both Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin and Green Bay's Davante Adams to miss their team's last two games. Both pass-catchers add a completely new dimension to their offenses. Godwin is Tampa Bay's best weapon out of the slot and best runner after the catch, while Adams is a high-volume target who has excellent chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. The Buccaneers also hope to get several other players back in action or back to full strength, including wide receivers Mike Evans, Scotty Miller and Justin Watson and running backs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy. Green Bay also played its last game without wide receiver Allen Lazard, defensive tackle Kenny Clark and tight end Marcedes Lewis, and while Lazard has since been put on I.R. the other two could return.

Stopping the A-A Train? - A-A-Ron will be present on Sunday when the Packers call attendance at Raymond James Stadium, and that means a long day for the Buccaneers' on-the-rise defense. Tampa Bay's defense has allowed the fourth-fewest yards and eight-fewest points per game so far, but they haven't faced an offense like the Packers' attack. Despite a thin receiving corps, Rodgers has led the Packers to a league-best 38.0 points per game, spreading the ball around to a wide variety of receivers, backs and tight ends and rarely making a mistake. His 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions have led to a passer rating north of 120, and it's reasonable to think that he is being driven by a chip on his shoulder following the Packers' first-round selection of quarterback-of-the-future Jordan Love. Can the Buccaneers' young and aggressive defense be the first one this season to get Rodgers out of his groove and keep the game from turning into a shootout? Tampa Bay's secondary is a good match for the Packers' receivers, even if Davante Adams plays (which might lead to a Carlton Davis shadow), the front seven has done a great job of applying pressure and linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David can follow Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams all over the field. The Buccaneers have also had good success when choosing to up their blitz percentage this season, but that is much less likely to unnerve Rodgers than most opposing quarterbacks.

Vita Replacement Vital - The Buccaneers would have an easier time of limiting the damage by Rodgers if they can first shut down the Packers' rushing attack, but there are two problems there. First, Green Bay is rolling up 150.8 rushing yards per game and can throw three powerful backs at their opponents (Jones, Williams and rookie A.J. Dillon). Second, Tampa Bay lost perhaps the most important player in their run defense in Week Five when defensive lineman Vita Vea suffered a broken leg. The Buccaneers will likely give more snaps to Will Gholston now and will ask Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Patrick O'Connor and possibly rookie Khalil Davis to step up and take interior-line snaps. The Buccaneers will adhere to the "Next Man Up" philosophy but the truth is they do not have another Vita Vea waiting to step in. The question is just how adversely the Buccaneers' run defense will be affected by Vea's absence. That group still features a number of strong run-stoppers in Gholston, David, White and Ndamukong Suh. In addition, Vea was making more of an impact as a pass-rusher in his third season, with two sacks and three QB hits, and his frequent double-teams helped the edge rushers get one-on-one chances. Since nose tackles don't always rack up a lot of counting stats, Vea was something of an unsung hero in the Bucs' defense. Will it now become clear just how important he was? The Bucs will have to rally in his absence to keep their defensive momentum going.

NFC Hierarchy - The Bucs came very close to their first 4-1 start in 15 years before falling by one point in Chicago last Thursday night. With the legendary Tom Brady leading an offense loaded with offensive weapons (when healthy) and a young defense that is proving its second-half rise in 2019 was no fluke, the Buccaneers have every reason to believe they are prime NFC playoff contenders. That said, their three wins so far have all come against teams that had losing record when they met the Bucs. The Thursday night game was a chance to make a statement in the conference against another 3-1 team but a fourth-quarter lead slipped away and Brady and the offense were unable to rally at the end. Now the undefeated Packers are coming to town to give the Buccaneers another chance at a 2020 measuring stick. If the Bucs do have designs at not only a playoff berth but a deep run in the postseason, they will eventually have to overcome some of the beasts of the NFC. Green Bay is clearly in that category, so a win in Week Six would be a major boost for the Buccaneers heading into the middle of the season.

Pressure Points - Both the Buccaneers and Packers built their edge rush on defense through veteran acquisitions. The Bucs traded for Jason Pierre-Paul in 2018 and signed former Denver reserve Shaq Barrett to a prove-it deal in 2019. The Packers did a Smith double-dip in free agency last year, signing the Ravens' Za'Darius and Washington's Preston. All four have had double-digit sack seasons within the last two years and Pierre-Paul only barely missed it last year due to a neck injury that cost him almost half the season. So far, those four have combined for 11.5 sacks this year, including 5.5 for Z. Smith and 4.0 for Pierre-Paul. Overall, the Buccaneers rank fifth on defense in sacks per pass play (9.50%) while the Packers are just behind in sixth (9.02%). This game will rightfully be billed as a high-wattage matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers but the difference could come down to which of those two maestros will get the most time to conduct their offensive symphonies.

KEY MATCHUPS

1. Packers RB Aaron Jones vs. Buccaneers LB Lavonte David

Once again, Lavonte David and the Buccaneers has to face one of the NFL's best all-around backs, one that can do just as much damage in the passing game as on the ground. Overall, Jones was third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (509), before the Packers went on their bye week. He was also second in rushing yards, with 374, while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. With the Packers' receiving corps thinned by injuries lately, Aaron Rodgers has targeted Jones frequently, a total of 23 times, second-most among all Packers players. And these are not all screens and swing passes, as Rodgers is averaging 5.7 air yards per target when throwing to Jones, the highest figure for any running back in the league. What this means is another very busy day for David, who will have to use his incredible sideline-to-sideline range to keep Jones in check on runs and passes. David and Devin White have nearly identical tackle totals so far, but White is easily the team leader with 24 tackles (18 solos) on run plays. David also has a team-high three tackles for loss on opposing running backs. David is a big key to the Bucs' run defense which, as noted above, will now be without the massive inside presence of Vita Vea. Vea helped keep blockers off David and White, which means the level of difficulty will probably rise for the Bucs' linebackers.

2. Buccaneers G Ali Marpet vs. Packers OLB Za'Darius Smith

The Packers made several uncharacteristic deep dives into unrestricted free agency in 2019 and one of their best additions proved to be former Ravens pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith. Smith led the Packers with 13.5 sacks and tied the Bucs' Shaq Barrett for the NFL lead with 37 QB hits. Smith is listed as an outside linebacker, which would lead one to think he'll be the main responsibility of the Bucs' tackles, but it's much more complicated in his case. The Packers move Smith all over the line, both sides, inside and outside, and he actually be a more effective pass-rusher on the interior. Last year, as noted by NFL.com's Nick Shook, Smith led the entire NFL with a 19.4% pressure rate on pass-rushes on the inside. Fortunately for the Buccaneers, their offensive line has provided strong protection across the board in 2020, ranking sixth in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass play. Marpet in particular has been a force in both the run and the pass game, putting together a season that might end in his first Pro Bowl. Stopping Smith, particularly when he slides inside, will be a major key on Sunday, as he has accounted for five of the Packers' 12 sacks so far.

3. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield, Jr.

Buccaneers rookie safety Antoine Winfield, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month in September, has drawn raves for his veteran-like awareness and understanding of what the opposition is trying to do. Of course, few players in the NFL have more veteran savvy than Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' 16th-year quarterback. Rodgers' career TD-INT ratio of 377-84 (including 13-0 this year) is an indication of how he can move defenders around with his eyes and fakes. That will be a stiff challenge for a young safety even if he does seem capable of playing beyond his years. The Buccaneers' defense has been pretty good at limiting big plays, other than a couple of impressive shots by Chargers' rookie Justin Herbert in Week Four. Overall, Tampa Bay's defense has only allowed five completions of 30 or more yards. Winfield, who is more often in deep coverage than fellow starting safety Jordan Whitehead, has been an important part of that with three passes defensed. Winfield and Rodgers could also do battle in the Packers' backfield, as the Bucs' rookie has already proved to be an excellent blitzer off the edge or from the slot. Winfield's two sacks are tied for the second most among NFL defensive backs.

4. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans vs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander

Jaire Alexander is the Packers' best cornerback and there's a reasonable chance that Green Bay will choose to assign him to Mike Evans, who has scored in every game this season. Alexander most often lines up at left cornerback, to the right side of the offense, but his pre-snap location heat map in the NFL's Next Gen Stats database show him getting a good amount of action on the other side, too. That suggests there are times that Alexander shadows one particular player, and in fact in Week Four he covered Calvin Ridley (with a banged-up Julio Jones only playing 15 snaps) on 23 of Ridley's 27 routes. After three straight 100-yard games to open the season, Ridley was held without a catch on five targets. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers employ Evans almost equally to both sides of the formation, occasionally in the slot but mostly on the outside. Evans has played 125 snaps on the right side and 150 on the left, so even if Ridley doesn't shadow Evans - perhaps a less effective strategy if Chris Godwin is back - they'll still get plenty of one-on-ones. The 5-10 Alexander will give up seven inches to Evans, and Evans is one of the NFL's best at winning on contested catches, so it will not be easy for the Packers' corner to shut down the Bucs' top pass-catcher the way he did to Ridley.

INJURY REPORT

Key:

DNP: Did not participate in practice

LP: Limited participation in practice

FP: Full participation in practice

NL: Not listed

Buccaneers:

* LB Lavonte David (knee) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* CB Carlton Davis (abdomen) - WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP

* DL Khalil Davis (ankle) - WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP

* WR Mike Evans (ankle) - WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP

* RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* TE Rob Gronkowski (shoulder) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* WR Scotty Miller (hip/groin) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* WR Justin Watson (chest) - WEDS: FP; THURS: FP

* S Jordan Whitehead (knee) - WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP

Packers:

* WR Davante Adams (hamstring) - WEDS: FP; THURS: FP

* DL Montravius Adams (neck) - WEDS: NL; THURS: DNP

* CB Jaire Alexander (hand/knee) - WEDS: LP; THURS: FP

* LB Krys Barnes (shoulder) - WEDS: LP; THURS: FP

* DT Kenny Clark (groin) - WEDS: FP; THURS: FP

* RB Tyler Ervin (wrist) - WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP

* LB Rashan Gary (ankle) - WEDS: LP; THURS: LP

* CB Kevin King (quadriceps) - WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP

* TE Marcedes Lewis (knee) - WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP

* LB Za'Darius Smith (ankle) - WEDS: FP; THURS: FP

* CB Chandon Sullivan (concussion) - WEDS: FP; THURS: FP

WEATHER FORECAST

Mostly sunny, high of 88, low of 72, 20% chance of rain, 68% humidity, winds out of the ENE at 10-15 mph.

GAME REFEREE

Head referee: Jerome Boger (17 seasons, 15 as referee)

BETTING LINE

* Favorite: Packers (-1.5)

* Over/Under: 51.5

INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS

Buccaneers- Points Scored: K Ryan Succop, 41

Touchdowns: WR Mike Evans, 6

Passing Yards: QB Tom Brady, 1,375

Passer Rating: QB Tom Brady, 96.8

Rushing Yards: RB Ronald Jones, 359

Receptions: WR Mike Evans, 22

Receiving Yards: WR Mike Evans, 271

Interceptions: CB Carlton Davis, 3

Sacks: OLB Jason Pierre-Paul, 4.0

Tackles: ILB Devin White, 40

Packers- Points Scored: K Mason Crosby, 40

Touchdowns: RB Aaron Jones, 6

Passing Yards: QB Aaron Rodgers, 1,214

Passer Rating: QB Aaron Rodgers, 128.4

Rushing Yards: RB Aaron Jones, 374

Receptions: WR Davante Adams, 17

Receiving Yards: WR Allen Lazard, 254

Interceptions: CB Jaire Alexander/CB Chandon Sullivan, 1

Sacks: OLB Za'Darius Smith, 5.0

Tackles: ILB Christian Kirksey, 27

TEAM STAT RANKINGS

Buccaneers- Scoring Offense: 12th (27.8 ppg)

Total Offense: 19th (365.0 ypg)

Passing Offense: 12th (265.6 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 25th (99.4 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 23rd (21.2)

Third-Down Pct.: 21st (41.5%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 6th (4.08%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: t-6th (72.2%)

Scoring Defense: 8th (22.4 ppg)

Total Defense: 2nd (298.2 ypg)

Passing Defense: 16th (239.8 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 1st (58.4 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 2nd (17.6)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 9th (38.3%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 5th (9.50%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 8th (56.3%)

Turnover Margin: t-11th (+2)

Packers- Scoring Offense: 1st (38.0 ppg)

Total Offense: 2nd (445.5 ypg)

Passing Offense: 3rd (294.8 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 5th (150.8 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 3rd (25.8)

Third-Down Pct.: 4th (51.1%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 1st (2.16%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: t-15th (65.0%)

Scoring Defense: 18th (25.3 ppg)

Total Defense: 12th (353.3 ypg)

Passing Defense: 19th (247.5 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 8th (105.8 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 17th (22.3)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 14th (41.5%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 6th (9.02%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 24th (69.2%)

Turnover Margin: t-7th (+3)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

* Wide receiver Mike Evans extended his team record for consecutive games played with at least one touchdown reception to six with a two-yard catch in the end zone in Chicago last Thursday evening. Evans is the only player in the NFL with an active streak of six straight games with a touchdown catch; if he gets one against Green Bay for a seventh game in a row it will be the longest such streak in the NFL since Atlanta's Julio Jones had seven in a row from Dec. 9, 2018 to Sept. 22, 2019.

* Evans also tied Chris Godwin (2019) for the most touchdown catches through the first five games of a season by the Buccaneers, with six. That's also the team record for most touchdown receptions through the first six games of a season, so one more for Evans against the Packers would set that record, too.

* Tight end Cameron Brate has 28 career touchdown catches, including one this year. That's tied for the fourth most in franchise history; one more would break that tie and put him just two behind wide receiver Kevin House for third place.

* OLB Jason Pierre-Paul has 24.0 sacks since joining the Buccaneers. He needs two more to catch Greg Spires and crack the Buccaneers' all-time top 10 in this category.

* Tampa Bay's defense has held three straight opponents below 50 rushing yards after giving up just 35 in Chicago in Week Five. That's already the longest streak by any NFL team since 2013. If the Buccaneers can limit the Packers to fewer than 50 rushing yards on Sunday and run their streak to four games, that would match the longest such streak in the league since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It has been done five times, by the following teams: the 1970 Lions, the 1993 Steelers, the 2005 Patriots, the 2006 Vikings and the 2013 Lions.

* Tom Brady recorded his 93rd career 300-yard passing game in Week Four against the Chargers, which put him in a tie with Peyton Manning for second place in NFL history. Brady would stand alone in second, behind only Drew Brees with another 300-yard outing on Sunday

NOTABLY QUOTABLE

* Head Coach Bruce Arians on trying to stop Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: "He's playing at a really high level. One thing [is] you have to get after him, that's for sure. You can't play scared. Knowing that the ball is going up - back-shoulder throws, he's the best there is. You've got to cover your guys, you've got to do a great job. I think more so [it is] the improvisational plays when he gets out of there. That's really when he's at his best."

* Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul on moving on from what the team considered a disappointing loss in Chicago: "It was a disappointing loss. I feel like everybody in the locker room knew we should've won that game and we didn't play to our full expectation. That's just what it is. I'm speaking for myself right now - I don't dwell on the games that have been played that we lost, or on the games that have been played that we win. I try to play each game individually and game-by-game. That's just basically what I do. I don't look at the loss and criticize myself. I do within that Monday, but then it's all over and done and I move on to the next."

* Inside linebacker Devin White on Rakeem Nunez-Roches stepping into the nose tackle role in place of the injured Vita Vea: "He brings the same type of playing style. Obviously, he's not Vita and Vita's not him, [but] I just feel like we won't have a lack of production from the nose spot with him being in there. That is just [a credit to] the type of guys we've got all around the board. I'm very comfortable with him being there and I know Lavonte [David] is very comfortable playing behind him because he comes in the games to spell Vita a lot. We're just going to keep this thing rolling. Hopefully people run the ball against us - well, at least try to run the ball against us - because me and Lavonte need to make some plays."

* Running back Ronald Jones on having back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: "It was very satisfying. Obviously, you need to get the victories and the touchdowns to score and win the game, but it was good. Again, the offensive line is doing the dirty work for me and making my job look easy. We look forward to doing it [again] and getting some wins on the table."

* Cornerback Jamel Dean on knowing that Rodgers is very good at manipulating defenders with his eyes and trying not to let that happen: "It's all about preparation. I've been diving in on a lot of film study this week just to be able to see his tendencies, recognize formations and what they like to do. I don't want to be caught off-guard by how he uses his eyes."

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