NFL Week 6: Packers vs. Buccaneers odds, pick & prediction
One of the more intriguing matchups of the 2020 NFL season is set to take place this Sunday, Oct. 18 when the Green Bay Packers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is 3-2 SU on the season and 2-3 ATS, while the Packers are 4-0 SU and 4-0 ATS.
The line opened with the Bucs as 2.5-point favorites before quickly flipping as public and sharp money alike has turned the Packers into 2.5-point favorites.
Sun, October 18 2020, 8:25 PM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
Brady vs. Rodgers
Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and repeatedly faced off against fellow great Peyton Manning, treating us to numerous memorable matchups over the years. Aaron Rodgers will also go down as one of the greats, but has only faced Brady twice, with each future Hall of Famer winning one game apiece.
The Bucs started their season with a loss before running off three straight wins. In their last matchup, their win streak was halted as they were defeated by the Chicago Bears, 20-19, with Brady and his Bucs scoring just 9 points in the final three quarters.
The Bucs are banged up
With multiple injuries to offensive starters, Brady’s #1 weapon was rookie wide receiver, Tyler Johnson. Tight End O.J. Howard is out for the year with a torn achilles. Rob Gronkowski looks slower than normal since coming out of retirement and is playing with a sore shoulder. Mike Evans has been playing at less than 100% on an injured ankle all year, and Chris Godwin was unable to play in the last matchup vs the Bears.
Other weapons like Scotty Miller, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, and Justin Miller have also been battling injury and missed time. While presumably most of these players will see the field in some capacity against the Bears, it is a collection of injuries that yields many question marks.
Packers and Buccaneers statistics
|Team||Passing Yards||Rushing Yards||Passing Yards Allowed||Rushing Yards Allowed|
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Adams expected to return against Tampa Bay
The Packers have not been without injuries of their own, most notably from star wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive lineman, Kenny Clark. Adams is expected to return against the Bucs, and his presence opens the field up for all other players, as Adams at his best is arguably the most prolific route runner in the NFL.
It’s Bucs week. WR Equanimeous St. Brown and ILB Kamal Martin (IR) returned to practice.— Olivia Reiner (@ReinerOlivia) October 12, 2020
CB Kevin King and RB Tyler Ervin did not practice. PS C Jake Hanson did not practice.
Davante Adams, Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary and Marcedes Lewis all practiced (DNP vs. Falcons). pic.twitter.com/3q4xdYLvv8
Rodgers has rediscovered his MVP form
Despite Adams missing the last two games, Rodgers has still been prolific. He leads the league in expected points added (EPA), while Brady sits just about league average. Rodgers is also second in completion percentage above expected (CPOE) behind only Russell Wilson, with Brady again slightly underperforming the league average on this metric. Rodgers has made a major leap back to his Hall-of-Fame level play in 2020, and the aggressive play-calling by second-year head coach Matt LaFleur is certainly helping.
The Packers are coming off a bye week in which they utilized their extra time away to get healthy, and while they certainly have plenty of notable ailments, the offensive lineman has come together nicely in protecting Rodgers. To their relief, Bucs interior lineman Vita Vea is out for the season after breaking a leg against the Bears. The Packers defense hasn’t been as good as the Bucs’, giving up 50 more yards and three more points on average per game, but Vea’s loss will be felt.
Will the Packers cover the spread against the Buccaneers on Sunday?
Packers should cruise against the Bucs
I expect Rodgers to continue his stellar play with his best weapon back in the fold, while Brady will likely continue to struggle as he attempts to gel with a roster in flux due to numerous injuries. Public sides surrendering five points from the opener isn’t a good strategy long-term, but Brady’s presence carries inflated value and I foresee the Packers winning by 7-10 points.
Score prediction: Packers 34, Buccaneers 24