Packers vs. Buccaneers: Lombardi Ave staff predictions for Week 13

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 21: Jordy Nelson
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 21: Jordy Nelson /

Will the Green Bay Packers keep their season alive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13? The Lombardi Ave staff have their say.

This is it. Win or go home. The playoffs have come early for the Packers, who will almost certainly win all five of their remaining regular season games to have a chance of making the playoffs.

Will Mike McCarthy’s team get the job done against a struggling Bucs team? Here’s how the Lombardi Ave writers think it will go down at Lambeau.

Joe D’Aloisio: It’s playoff time for the Packers. At 5-6, they are still in the hunt. But a loss to the Buccaneers will end their season.

Jameis Winston returns for the Bucs after missing the last three games with a shoulder injury. However he will be without two starting linemen.

Defensively the Packers will have their hands full trying to contain Mike Evans. They have struggled generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but could expose Tampa’s depleted offensive line. If they can get to Winston, they could have some success.

Offensively, Brett Hundley is coming off his best game of the year. Hopefully he carries over that momentum in a must-win game. The Buccaneers’ defense has given up the most yards in the NFL. Green Bay has the potential to march up and down the field. Expect Jamaal Williams to get the ball a ton, on the ground and through the air.

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The Packers have lost their last three at home, but this is a very winnable game. Packers 21, Bucs 17

Ralph Mancini: This could potentially be a trap game for the Packers against a Tampa team that has some serious weapons at the skill positions in the form of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard.

And after a three-week absence, Jameis Winston returns to the fray and though the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has had a disappointing year, he’ll be well rested and highly motivated to turn things around.

But while the Bucs have some firepower on offense, their defense shouldn’t pose many problems for the home team, considering their anemic pass rush and 32nd-ranked pass defense.

The key here is for Brett Hundley and friends to score early and force Winston to press. The 23-year-old signal caller has eight turnovers in eight games (six interceptions and two fumbles) and will have to deal with over 80,000 rabid Cheeseheads to boot.

A 4-7 team with no postseason aspirations is more likely to their take its foot off the gas pedal down, say, 10-0 on the road.

It’s late in the year and most of these athletes are playing hurt, which means that many of them will instinctively go into shutdown mode.

This one could get ugly for the young Floridians. Packers 27 Bucs 12

Brad Miller: Will we see the Packers that showed up against Chicago and Pittsburgh or will it be the one that looked lost against Baltimore and Detroit?

I want to believe the Packers defense can keep up their good play. I want to believe Brett Hundley has turned the corner. I want to believe the offensive line will continue to hold together through their injuries. I want to believe in this team.

Tampa is coming into the game with problems and questions of their own. They will be getting QB Jameis Winston back under center. Yet, after a lot of preseason hype, they have under-performed even more than the Packers have without Rodgers playing. Lost has been WR standout Mike Evans. He looks like he is not on the same page as Winston this year.

After a four-game suspension RB Doug Martin hasn’t hit the ground running. He looks a little slow to the hole and has lost the confidence of offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

I see this as a slow, error-filled, low-scoring game. One team has to step up and I think that the Packers will be that team. They have the home field. They have some momentum on offense. They have a red-hot Davante Adams.

I expect RB Jamal Williams to continue his tough running. Look for him to carry the team if he gets on a roll. Packers 23, Bucs 16

Freddie Boston: I’d like to thank the schedule makers for giving Packers fans hope. Green Bay has a daunting final three games of the season — at Carolina, versus Minnesota and at Detroit — but gets a good deal over the next two weeks.

If Brett Hundley has to play in the final three games, the Packers will need a miracle. That’s not the case this week against a depleted Bucs team. Hundley just needs to be OK.

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The Bucs are ranked dead last in passing defense, and like the Packers, have struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Tampa has recorded a league-low 15 sacks on the year. That’s all good news for Hundley and the Pack. I like their chances in this one. Packers 24, Bucs 20