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NFC Championship Game 2021: Bucs vs. Packers Comments and Stat Predictions

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) works against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have never gone head-to-head in the NFC Championship, but they've had numerous gridiron battles over the years.

Of the 56 times they've faced off, the Packers have won 33 times, one of which includes a 21-7 win in the 1997 NFC Divisional Playoff game and tied one time back in 1980.

When these two teams collide on Sunday, Jan. 24, it will showcase an all-time special matchup between two generational, first ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

The winner will secure all-time bragging rights and move on to Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay.

Here's a quick look at what players will stand out for the NFC title game and a few stat predictions.

NFC Championship Game Info

Who: No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 1 Green Bay Packers

When: Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Livestream: Fox Sports Go

Stat Predictions

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: 26-for-37 for 310 passing yards and three touchdowns

Packers WR Davante Adams: Seven receptions, 115 yards and two touchdowns

Packers OLB Rashan Gary: Three tackles and one sack

Bucs QB Tom Brady: 22-for-34 for 284 passing yards and three touchdowns

Bucs WR Mike Evans: Five receptions, 89 yards and one touchdown

Bucs DE Ndamukong Suh: Three tackles and one sack

While Rodgers and Brady are both incredible quarterbacks that are playing at a high level this year, it's the former that is on the verge of winning his third MVP after leading the NFL in passing touchdowns (48) and steering his team to the best regular season record in the league (13-3).

The AP award is great, but Rodgers has a lot more on the line this Sunday. The biggest game in the 37-year old QB's last six years will be played on his home turf at Lambeau Field where he will be trying to improve on his dismal 1-3 record in the NFC Championship Game.

"I talk about a lot how thankful I am to be in this opportunity," Rodgers told Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post. "To be the starting quarterback here — to be relied upon for my play, my leadership, my presence, my daily preparation — there’s no greater feeling. This is such a special honor.

"It’s one of the greatest honors of my life, definitely up to this point, to be able to lead this team and be counted on by my teammates to bring not just my physical play but my presence, my emotions, my words. I’m thankful for the opportunity to still be here and still be the guy. And I’m excited about what we can accomplish together."

Rodgers will likely lean on his best wide receiver Davante Adams for help in getting him to just his second Super Bowl in his storied career, but he'll be tested by Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' impressive defense.

The Bucs will likely stack the box and blitz Rodgers much like they did in Week 6, when they forced him into throwing two interceptions, one of which was an uncharacteristic pick-6.

Green Bay will likely game-plan for Tampa Bay's defensive schemes, but there's no love lost between these two teams.

There's built-in bad blood between Rodgers and Suh, so look for the latter to bring a heaping helping of his brand of mean to the contest.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Suh is the only defensive lineman to have played 10,000 plus snaps since 2010 and he's likely going to be more fired up and intense than usual for this one, so look for him to be an X-factor off the line.

For Brady, this is a chance to lead the Bucs to its first ever home Super Bowl and his 10th overall. And while he won't directly come out and say it, he's motivated to prove that he can win it without coach Bill Belichick and he's got his team firing on all cylinders just in time to be able to pull it off.

"Consummate leader," Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told Peter King of NBC Sports. "Has been all year. Got the air of confidence that permeates through our team every day. I allow him to be himself. Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch."

In the end, this game is going to come down to which quarterback makes the most big plays and which quarterback will be better protected.

Brady has the better offensive line, but Rodgers is more mobile and deadly on the move. Both will bring their A games, so this NFC Championship should be one for the ages.

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