Packers: Three-step plan to defeating Bucs in NFC Championship Game

Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

A win away from the Super Bowl, what do the Green Bay Packers need to do to advance?

It’s a similar story for the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. They must overcome a team that dominated the regular season matchup between the two.

With the game at Lambeau Field and the Packers entering as favorites, they can absolutely win and return to the Super Bowl.

Here are three steps to making it happen:

1. Don’t turn the ball over

Consecutive turnovers in the Week 6 game swung a 10-point lead into a four-point deficit. It started a dramatic collapse for the Packers and one they wouldn’t recover from that afternoon.

It can’t happen again on Sunday. The Bucs are masters of making teams pay for turning the ball over. Just last week, Tampa Bay scored 21 points immediately following a New Orleans turnover. In what turned out to be a 10-point victory, had the Saints protected the ball, they’d likely be in the NFC Championship Game.

2. Interior of offensive line needs to win its matchup

The Packers’ top three running backs were held to a combined 80 yards rushing in Week 6. To win this game, Green Bay needs to be able to run the ball. Protecting Aaron Rodgers also needs to be much better from the previous game against the Bucs.

Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins has been phenomenal all season as we saw when he was matched up one-on-one with Aaron Donald last week. The same is true for first-team All-Pro Corey Linsley. Lucas Patrick has been great too.

The Packers need to commit to the ground game and wear down the Buccaneers’ talented front seven. Green Bay ran the ball at will against a top defense a week ago. Repeating that on Sunday will lead to similar results.

And when the time comes to open up the play-action passing game, we see big plays like the one to Allen Lazard last week.

3. Generate interior pass rush

The Packers’ best path to the quarterback could be through the middle. Kenny Clark is a great interior pass rusher, but Mike Pettine should also consider moving Rashan Gary and Za’Darius Smith inside more frequently.

Tampa Bay has a good offensive line, but guard Aaron Stinnie will be making his second career start on Sunday. He started and put in a solid performance last week against the New Orleans Saints, but having to deal with Smith, Gary, or Clark one-on-one could be a problem.

Pressuring Brady needs to be a priority for this defense. Getting interior pass rush might be the way to find success up front.

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