Buccaneers (2) at Packers (1)
It’s deja vu for the Packers. Just like last season, they eliminate the Rams in the divisional round then host the Buccaneers in the NFC title game.
This matchup would undoubtedly bring back some bad memories for Packers fans, and it would be a tough hurdle to overcome. The Buccaneers are built to win a championship, and if there’s one player who knows how to get to Super Bowls, it’s Tom Brady. He always finds a way.
Here’s the difference from last season. In 2020, Tampa Bay had the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL. In 2021, the Buccaneers ranked 13th in total defense. Most notably, they are 21st against the pass. While their run defense is still strong, ranking third, AJ Dillon can be a difference maker for the Packers. His role was limited last season.
The Packers’ defense is improved from a year ago. Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell have both made major impacts, and Eric Stokes has been impressive. We should see less of Kevin King one-on-one in coverage. Hopefully Jaire Alexander will also return for the playoffs. Rashan Gary, too, has enjoyed a breakout season.
The Packers uncharacteristically turned the ball over twice in last year’s game. They still had a chance to win late on.
It would be an incredibly tough game but, at Lambeau Field, the Packers put right last season’s NFC Championship loss.