It’s the next to last game of the season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going on the road to Raymond James Stadium to visit the Green Bay Packers. Word on the street is that the game is completely sold out with an emphasis on green and gold. Much like the last three games of the season, the Buccaneers are going up against a team that is fighting tooth and nail with the playoffs in mind. Unlike those three teams, Green Bay is wielding Aaron Rodgers. Not only that, the Packers are playing some of the best defense in the league. If the offensive line couldn’t contain (insert any other opponent here), they certainly can’t contain Green Bay.
In many ways, this could turn into a clinic on how football is supposed to be played. Aaron Rodgers runs the Packers offense with the efficiency of a marine sniper. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers tend to look like a bunch of six year olds playing Super Monkey Ball 2 on a Gamecube. More than any game this season, any slim modicum of a potential miracle win relies on Tampa Bay’s defense. However, even that great white hope has a bit of a chink in the armor.
Gerald McCoy is officially on injured reserve to end the season. While I’m completely in favor of such a decision, it gives little hope from the perspective of the game against Green Bay. The rest of the defensive front will have to come all guns blazing to get significant pressure on Rodgers. Meanwhile, Isaiah Frey and Major Wright are both still nursing injuries and could end up out for the game. In many ways, this could be the biggest test for many of the lesser names. Players like Orie Lemon, Bradley McDougald, Jacquies Smith, Larry English, and Danny Lansanah will be able to use this as an opportunity to prove themselves. If you hold this Green Bay offense to less than twenty points and force turnovers, settle in for the long haul because you won’t be going anywhere comes 2015.
As for Tampa Bay’s offense creating momentum and scoring points, it remains unreliable. Josh McCown will be working hard to try and prove he deserves another year, but anything short of three passing touchdowns to Mike Evans and zero interceptions probably would change his stock much. Look for Mike Evans to rebound from a tough couple of weeks as I’m sure the rookie will be eager to battle the challenging Green Bay defense. On the ground, Doug Martin and company will hope to replicate their success from last week for more than two quarters.
In the end, this is as long a shot as the Buccaneers have had all season. For the sole purpose of predicting the Bucs to win all season long, I’ve got a potential prediction where the Buccaneers upset Green Bay on the road in Ray-Jay. If Mike Evans scores two touchdowns, the defense has a miracle night and shuts the down Aaron Rodgers, and they score twice off of turnovers, the Buccaneers win. That’s as big an if as I’ve ever created, and my hopes aren’t very high for the miracle. However, I do trust Pat Murray to continue his campaign as the Buccaneers most consistent player of 2014 with a few field goals for the day.
Prediction: Bucs win, 34-30
(Two Pat Murray Field Goals, Two Mike Evans TDs,
Two Defensive TDs, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree)