It's not a surprise that the Green Bay Packers will be hosting the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. They have been one of the top teams in the NFL this season, earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC and returning from a first-round bye with an impressive showing against the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a more difficult path to the conference title game. As the No. 5 seed, they haven't played at home since their regular-season finale. They have notched wins over the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints to get to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2002 season (which was when they won Super Bowl XXXVII).
Either the Packers or Bucs will be heading to Super Bowl LV, which is set to take place Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. For Green Bay, it will be looking to get to the Super Bowl for the first time since winning it in the 2010 season. Since then, the Packers have lost in the NFC Championship Game three times, including last year.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into Sunday's game, including betting information.
NFC Championship Game Information
Date: Sunday, Jan. 24
Start Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Green Bay (-3.5)
Over/Under: 52 points
Moneyline: Green Bay -186 (bet $186 to win $100); Tampa Bay +163 (bet $100 to win $163)
One of the top storylines for this matchup has been the showdown between two of the top quarterbacks of this era: Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Tampa Bay's Tom Brady. The veterans are 37 and 43, respectively, and are closer to the ends of their careers than the beginnings.
Rodgers is showing no signs of slowing down. He passed for an NFL- and career-high 48 touchdowns during the regular season, throwing for 4,299 yards and getting intercepted only five times. The Packers offense ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards per game (389) with Rodgers at the helm in 2020.
But during Rodgers' 16-year NFL career, he's only faced off against Brady four times (and one of those meetings came during Week 6 of the 2020 regular season). That's because Brady spent his first 20 seasons playing in the AFC for the New England Patriots, so the two quarterbacks rarely crossed paths.
This will be the first time that Rodgers and Brady will go head-to-head in the postseason.
"I remember when I heard the news about him coming to the NFC, I thought this was a real possibility," Rodgers said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky and Jenna Laine. "And I'm excited about the opportunity to play against him one more time."
When the two teams met in the regular season, things didn't go in Rodgers and the Packers' favor. The Bucs rolled to a 38-10 home win, handing Green Bay its first loss of the year.
This time, though, the Packers will have home-field advantage. And Sunday's condition at Lambeau Field could work well for Green Bay, as it will be cold with a chance of snow, per AccuWeather. It won't be anything new for the Packers, who play in this type of weather every year.
Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion, could be tough for Green Bay's defense to stop. He's surrounded by talented playmakers in Tampa Bay's offense, so the Bucs have a good chance of keeping up with the Packers. Plus, they have a strong defense that could challenge Rodgers and Green Bay's offense.
But the Packers will avenge their loss to the Bucs and get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years.
Green Bay's offense got going in the second half of the season, with Rodgers playing at an MVP level down the stretch. Even though Tampa Bay's defense is strong (especially against the run), Rodgers will just air it out more, connecting with top wide receiver Davante Adams for some big plays and doing enough to build a lead in the second half.
The Bucs will have an opportunity late to tie the game, but the Packers defense will come up with a big stop. Green Bay will not only win, but it will also cover the 3.5-point spread. However, it will still end as a one-possession game.
Prediction: Packers 27, Buccaneers 21
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