Two of the great quarterbacks in NFL history will be facing off in the NFC Championship.
Tom Brady leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the north to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
How to watch the NFC Championship
- What: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-5, 8-2 Away) at Green Bay Packers (14-3, 8-1 Home)
- When: 2:05 p.m. CST on Sunday, Jan. 24
- Where: Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
- TV: Fox
- Online Livestream: Fox Sports Go
- Radio: Westwood One
- Online Radio Stream: Westwood One
- Satellite Radio: Sirius XM Channel 226 (Bucs); Sirius XM Channel 225 (Packers)
Iowa sportsbooks like Green Bay by a field goal
Oddsmakers are expecting this to be a tight game on Sunday. Here are the live odds:
Most of the sportsbooks are currently listing the Packers as a 3.5-point favorite at home against the Bucs. When it comes to the moneyline, Green Bay are -180 to -190, while the Buccaneers are +158 to +160.
The sportsbooks largely agree on the over/under, listing it at 51.5 points. The juice varies depending on the book.
Packers look to avenge loss to Bucs
These two met earlier this season in Tampa, with the Buccaneers rolling to a 38-10 victory.
However, in the history of this series, Green Bay has been in control. The Packers are 33-22-1 in the all-time history with Tampa.
For Iowa sports bettors, Tampa has covered the spread in four of the last six meetings with Green Bay.
When it comes to key trends, the over et looks to be the play. Tampa has hit the over in 18 of its last 24 conference games, as well as in six of its last seven as a road underdog. Green Bay has hit the over in eight straight January games and six straight playoff games.
When it comes to public betting, the Packers are currently getting 59% of the wagers as the slight favorite.
Rodgers seeks second Super Bowl
The story for the Packers coming into Sunday’s game is Rodgers pursuing a second Super Bowl championship.
The 16-year NFL veteran QB had one of his best seasons of his career this season, throwing for 4,299 yards and 48 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Rodgers is dueling with Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City for the NFL MVP honor.
Last week, Rodgers threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Not one that tends to need extra motivation, Rodgers had his worst performance of the season in the loss to Tampa. He was just 16 of 35 passing for 160 yards with two interceptions and no TDs. He was also sacked four times.
Rodgers will lead Green Bay’s highest-scoring offense (31.8 ppg) in the NFL against a Tampa defense giving up just 22.2 points per game. Davante Adams is likely to remain his top target. Adams had 115 catches for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns during the season.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay hopes to slow down a Tampa offense that averages 30.8 points per game. To do that, Green Bay will have to rely on its pass rush that is led by All-Pro Za’Darius Smith, who had 12.5 sacks during the season.
Brady making 14th championship appearance
Many questioned Brady leaving the New England Patriots during the offseason, but Brady finds himself playing in a 14th conference championship game on Sunday. Brady has a 9-4 record in the previous 13 games.
Brady may not have the same zip on the ball he once had, but he is still quite efficient. During the season, he threw for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In the two playoff games, he has 580 yards with four TD’s and no INTs.
Tampa isn’t lacking in weapons for Brady. Mike Evans has been his top receiver with 70 catches for 1,006 yards and 13 scores. One option Brady may be without is Antonio Brown. Brown suffered a knee injury last week and he will be a game-time decision on Sunday.
Defensively, Tampa likes to be physical upfront. The Bucs lead the NFL in rushing defense (80.6 ypg), but are just 21st in pass defense (246.6 ypg).
In the win over the Packers back in October, Tampa was able to rack up five sacks and hold the Packers to just 201 total yards. The Bucs also didn’t commit a penalty in the win.
Devin White has been the leader defensively with 140 tackles and nine sacks.
This game is likely to come down to which defense can be more disruptive to their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback counterpart.