NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers Running Game Could Face a Tough Time Against Buccaneers

Published 01/24/2021, 2:42 PM EST
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) breaks away for a large gain against Los Angeles Rams strong safety Jordan Fuller (32) and defensive back Darious Williams (31) in the third quarter during their NFL divisional playoff game Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK


The Green Bay Packers have thrived this season, thanks to an in-form Aaron Rodgers. The QB registered 48 touchdowns for only 5 interceptions. But against the LA Rams, in the Divisional Round, it was their running game that moved the chains.

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The trio of AJ Dillon, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams ran riot over the Rams defense amassing close to 200 rushing yards for the night. The rushing trio also managed to get 12 crucial first downs at Lambeau Field. 

But recreating a similar feat might be a tougher challenge against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. 

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Buccaneers adept at handling the running game

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are feared for their offense led by Tom Brady, but their rush defense is not one to be taken lightly. The Bucs rush defense was the best in the league this season, allowing only 80.6 rushing yards and 3.6 per carry. The Buccaneers have been efficient in shutting out rush attacks all season

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Sep 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Though New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was able to get 85 yards against them in the Divisional Round, he was held to 0 touchdowns. A feat the Buccaneers will be looking to replicate against the Packers rushing trio.  

Thus, if the Packers’ game plan involves rushing the ball for the majority of plays, they could be in for a tough day at the office.

Onus on Aaron Rodgers to get Green Bay Packers through  

With the Bucs being efficient at containing rush attacks, the onus falls on QB Aaron Rodgers to come in clutch. Rodgers has had a phenomenal 2020 season. His performances this season have caught everyone by surprise.

After a sub-par 2019 campaign, the QB is back to what he does best. Shredding the opposition into pieces with his passing game. Against the Rams, Rodgers ended up registering 296 passing yards. Add to that he got 2 touchdowns as well.

Rodgers has been consistently brilliant against teams this season. But one team managed to hold him to a QB rating of less than 40 in a game. And that franchise was none other than Tampa Bay.

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Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass during the first half of a NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With a completion percentage of 45.71% and 2 interceptions, Rodgers’ performance against Tampa was by far his worst this season.  

Thus, with Tampa having a proficient run defense, Rodgers will have to pull out the big guns if he is to make sure there isn’t a repeat of what happened against Tampa Bay last time around.

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ALSO READ- Aaron Rodgers Enters NFC Championship Game Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers With Worrying Record

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Shivayan Roy

910 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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