Game planning requires a lot of attention to detail. With a complex offense such as the one, the Packers bring the defense has to find a weakness. Subsequently, that weakness may just be the receiving corps and Aaron Rodgers himself.
The Grave Diggers
So far this season the Buccaneers’ secondary looks stout. They’ve held the Cowboys to 198 passing yards and the Saints to 236 yards and a touchdown. They’ll have to have a similar performance from week two with multiple interceptions (3) and pass deflections (5) to pull out a win. Additionally, Jamel Dean has posted the lowest passer rating this season (minimum 10 targets) with 12.9 and Antoine Winfield Jr. comes in with a 28.7 passer rating. They’ll look to continue this trend against a relatively unproven Green Bay wide receiver corps.
Aaron Rodgers looks to get rolling in much the same way Tom Brady does. In the first two games Rodgers and his receivers have not performed at their highest level. Or at least a level we’d expect from Rodgers. Weather it’s missing Davante Adams or the amount of youth at the position, Rodgers will try to bounce back this week.
In week one Rodgers was held to 195 yards and an interception with his best receiver being running back A.J. Dillion. Not a great way to start the season. Additionally, in week two, Rodgers best receiver was Sammy Watkins. During the game he hauled in three catches for 93 total yards. This week Rodgers be without him as he has been placed on injured reserve.
This leaves Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb (questionable), and Romeo Doubs as the primary targets. Tight end Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix.
The Buccaneers are using more two-high shells this season and with great effect. Pro Football Focus reports that the Buccaneers used cover two, four, or cover six over 50 percent of the defensive snaps against Dallas. The results were great against one of the highest scoring offenses from last season.
In week two the Buccaneers lead in zone coverage with 95.9% of the defensive snaps in that scheme. This was due in part to the running back situation in New Orleans and a familiar foe in Jameis Winston.
It’s clear the Buccaneers new look defense is set up to prevent the passing attack and keep big plays to a minimum. Just don’t expect such extremes like week two with a stout running game in coming into Tampa.
The only issue I can foresee is the defense accounting for Aaron Jones. He’s more dynamic and elusive than Mark Ingram. But it should be noted Ezekiel Elliott played well with a 5.2 yards per run average against the Buccaneers. If Jones can replicate the success of last week and have an average close to Elliott’s the Buccaneers could be in for a long day.
Ultimately, if Todd Bowles and the defense stay the course they should stifle the Green Bay offense.
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