It always felt inevitable that the Green Bay Packers would have to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get to the Super Bowl. It’s a great matchup for an NFC Championship, and one I’m very much looking forward to watching as a fan of football.
Unsurprisingly, this also seems to be a game that has Packer fans freaking out.
For the last six weeks or so, Packer fans have been trying to find new reasons each week to convince themselves that this team isn’t going to be able to win a Super Bowl.
Derrick Henry was supposed to run all over them. He didn’t.
The supposedly red-hot Bears were supposed to be a threat. They weren’t.
Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald were supposed to spell big trouble for the Packers’ offense. They didn’t.
Now, the same negative nancies are spending the week perseverating over the threat level of the Bucs.
It feels like I need to remind people of this every single week, but the Packers are the number one seed for a reason. And they may very well be the best team in the NFL right now.
“But Tim!” you’ll say, “The Buccaneers demolished the Packers in October! 38-10! Their defense smothered Aaron Rodgers!”
Yes, I know. I saw it. We all saw it.
It doesn’t matter.
That same Bucs team lost 38-3 to New Orleans even more recently. That mattered not a single bit this last weekend when Tampa went into the Superdome and took down the team that swept them in the regular season.
This is a very different Packer team than what we saw in October. The defense has significantly improved. The running game has turned into a force. Aaron Rodgers is somehow playing even better.
Since the Packers got taken down by the Bucs, the Packers have scored more than 30 points on two different number one overall defenses. They blew out a playoff team many thought to be a bona fide Super Bowl contender, swept another playoff team, and easily dispatched a Rams team that was hyped up to be their potential kryptonite.
There’s absolutely no reason to expect the Packers will not win this weekend. They should be considered the clear favorite.
I don’t care about your “Tom Brady is great in the cold” or “Tom Brady playoff luck” takes. I don’t care how good Devin White looks. I don’t care how many weapons Tampa’s offense has.
For once, let’s enjoy the fact that the Packers, and not their opponents, are the bullies. It’s the Bucs who need to be afraid this weekend, because nobody is playing better football right now than the team from little Green Bay.
One guy to watch this week
It’s hard to believe, but Aaron Rodgers has never played well in an NFC Championship game. Not once.
In this, his fifth attempt, it’s time for him to turn that pattern around.
Rodgers has never had the opportunity to play in an NFC Championship at home, or as the favorite. He’s coming in playing possibly the best football of his career, and has an extra chip on his shoulder given the fact that he played his worst game of the season against this same Bucs team already this year.
This could very well be a legacy game for Rodgers, and knocking Tom Brady out is just the icing on the cake.
All eyes will be on the MVP this weekend.
I’ve been consistent for the last several weeks now in predicting a Packers/Bills Super Bowl, and I’m not going to turn away from that now.
It’s probably safe to assume Patrick Mahomes will play this weekend, regardless of how concussed he may be. Do you honestly think the Chiefs (or basically any NFL team) let concussion protocol get in the way of their star quarterback playing in a conference championship game?
That being said, I’m not entirely sure it matters. The Chiefs haven’t looked like themselves for much of the last two months. Sure, they finished with a 14-2 record, but they’ve scraped by against inferior competition and haven’t been playing nearly to their capabilities. The Bills have significantly more momentum coming into this football game, even if their offense had a relatively lower output this past week. I think that, plus the extra desire they have from not having just won a championship a year ago, gives them the edge they need to get by the Chiefs in KC.
Bills 27, Chiefs 23
Two Minutes’ Hate: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I already spent some time hating on the Buccaneers earlier this season, but who am I to pass up on the opportunity to remind people of why the Buccaneers are so hateable?
It’s pretty rare that you get a team that makes it to a conference title game after not winning in the playoffs in nearly 20 years and yet most people are still cheering for them to lose. You can thank Tom Brady for that.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the Bucs is that they made it so that the elimination of the Saints, one of the most hate-able franchises in the NFL, wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it could or should have been, because it meant yet another week of slurping the legacy of Tom Brady.
All I wanted was one day where I could enjoy Advocare scam artist and STAND FOR THE FLAG enthusiast Drew Brees getting beaten at home in the final game of his career. But then it has to come at the hands of Tom Freaking Brady? I was so looking forward to the schadenfreude, but Brady ruined my celebration.
Do you really need my validation, Tom? Like, ok, we get it. You’re good. Historically good. You dominated the AFC and turned its championship game into the yearly Tom Brady invitational, and now you want to do that in the NFC as well. Just, like, move on, man. Nobody doubts you any more, nobody’s slighting you, you have nothing left to prove. The fact that you continue to try to play up the “doubters” and the “naysayers” is, frankly, insufferable. You haven’t been an underdog in two decades, and nobody’s cheering for you. Get over it.
Antonio Brown hasn’t exactly been a massive part of this team this season, but he’s still an irredeemably shitty human being and is reason enough for everyone to want the Buccaneers to make an embarrassing exit this weekend.
Bruce Arians is every Boomer yelling with gleeful rage along with Rush Limbaugh, but allowed to coach a football team.
Warren Sapp gave one of the cheapest hits of all time to Chad Clifton and to this day I’m not able to like the Buccaneers because of it.
The only reason this team has a Super Bowl banner to hang is that the Raiders were too stupid to change their audibles after Jon Gruden left.
The only reason Jon Gruden is employed anywhere in the NFL today is that the Raiders were too stupid to change their audibles after Jon Gruden left.
As soon as Brady retires, this team will go back to being dogshit for most of the next two decades, as is tradition.
I’m over the hype. Packers win by a billion.