NFL Football

NFC Championship
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Tampa Bay 7 14 7 3 31
Green Bay 0 10 13 3 26
12:05 PM PT1:05 PM MT2:05 PM CT3:05 PM ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST2:05 PM CT0:05 UAE (+1)15:05 ET18:05 , January 24, 2021
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin  Weather: 29°, Clear  Attendance: 7,772

Buccaneers-Packers Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers

  1. Green Bay had season worsts in points scored (10), points allowed (38) and total yards (201) in a 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 6. The only previous postseason matchup between the teams -- who were NFC Central mates from 1977 to 2001 -- came in the 1997 Divisional Round, a 21-7 Packers home win.
  2. Saturday's 32-18 win over the Rams was Green Bay's 21st straight postseason game with 20+ points, the longest streak in NFL history. The Packers have lost their last three NFC Championship Game appearances (2014, 2016 and 2019 seasons), though all three games were on the road.
  3. This will be Tampa Bay's fourth NFC title game appearance, having lost in 1979 and 1999 before a road win over the Eagles in 2002. With a win, the Bucs would become the first team in the Super Bowl era to reach the Super Bowl in the season that they ended a playoff drought of 12+ years (2008-19).
  4. Tom Brady is set to make his 14th start in a conference championship game, twice as many as any other QB (Joe Montana, 7). Brady's only two road interceptions this season both came in Week 1; his 368 consecutive road pass attempts without an interception is the longest streak in NFL history.
  5. Saturday was Aaron Rodgers' eighth career postseason game with multiple pass TD and no interceptions; only Tom Brady has more such games (13). Rodgers is up to 50 pass TD for the season, making him the sixth different QB all-time to reach 50 in a season (including playoffs).
  6. Including the postseason, the Buccaneers have an NFL-high 128 points off takeaways this season (21 last week vs. New Orleans), while the Packers have allowed an NFL-low 33 giveaway points.
Team Comparison

Tampa Bay
Green Bay
30.8 Points 31.8
298.5 Pass Yds 268.7
94.9 Rush Yds 132.4
25 Takeaways 18
(AP Photo/Brett Duke)

For as much as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have accomplished in their Hall of Fame-caliber careers, they've rarely faced off on the field.

Never have they met with so much at stake.

When Rodgers' Green Bay Packers (14-3) host Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-5) in the NFC championship game Sunday, it will be just the fourth time they've squared off as starting quarterbacks, and first in the playoffs.

"I remember when I heard the news about him coming to the NFC, I thought this was a real possibility," Rodgers said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to play against him one more time."

The Bucs trounced the Packers 38-10 in Tampa on Oct. 18. They met two other times during Brady's tenure in New England, with the Packers winning 26-21 at Green Bay in 2014 and the Patriots winning 31-17 in Foxborough four years later.

Both understand all eyes will be on them Sunday. Kurt Warner, the Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL Network analyst, said that's just human nature.

"When I played, I always knew who was on the other sideline," Warner said. "I always said when I went into these matchups, at the end of the day, I know if we're going to win this game, I've got to outperform that guy. I've got to be better than the quarterback on the other side."

Brady, 43, has helped the Bucs earn a franchise-record seven straight road wins. A win at Lambeau Field clinches their first Super Bowl berth since their 2002 championship season.

"This is one of the coolest stadiums in the league to play in," Brady said. "I know they're excited, we'll be excited, and it will make for a great football game."

Brady is trying to join Warner, Peyton Manning and Craig Morton as the only quarterbacks to lead two separate franchises to a Super Bowl. He already won six Super Bowls and played in nine total with the Patriots.

Green Bay is making its fourth NFC championship game appearance in the past seven seasons, but Rodgers hasn't reached a Super Bowl since leading the Packers to a title in the 2010 season. Warner said the postseason weighs heavily on where players stack up in history.

"That's why Tom is the GOAT (greatest of all time)," Warner said. "It's why Joe Montana is up there and guys who've been there numerous times - the John Elways - and everyone else kind of gets knocked down a notch. Even though they're been great in the regular season, there's a combination of the two that I think weighs heavily."

Simply put, Rodgers needs this victory more than Brady.

"He plays in one Super Bowl, I think there will be something about that that just doesn't sit right with anybody," Warner said. "It doesn't sit right with any of us who love this game and know how great he's been. It just doesn't seem to fit."

This may be the best remaining chance for the 37-year-old Rodgers at that elusive second Super Bowl berth.

"It's been a while since he was last a world champion," CBS Sports analyst and 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon said. "I think that would certainly cement his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play the game in my opinion. Not that he needs it, but I'm just telling you that's probably how he's wired."


Green Bay has committed a league-low 11 turnovers this season, including only two during its current seven-game winning streak. The Bucs have scored 27 points off five takeaways during their two playoff victories.


Tampa Bay ended a 12-year playoff drought this season. The journey to the NFC championship game has been especially gratifying for ninth-year linebacker Lavonte David, eighth-year defensive linemen William Gholston and seventh-year receiver Mike Evans. They've spent their entire careers with the Bucs.

"It just goes to show throughout the hard times, the people upstairs and around the building believed in me," David said. "Obviously, I believed in them, as well. It's just an honor to still be here, to still be able to live out my dream as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer."


The Packers have allowed just 21 sacks all season and didn't give up any sacks last week against the Los Angeles Rams, who had 53 sacks during the regular season. But they allowed five sacks in their regular-season loss to Tampa Bay.


Green Bay's Aaron Jones rushed for 1,104 yards in the regular season and ran for 99 more against the Rams, but he was held to 15 yards on 10 carries when the Packers lost to Tampa Bay in October.

Tampa Bay's Ronald Jones rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns in that Oct. 18 victory over Green Bay. He split carries with Leonard Fournette in Tampa Bay's triumph at New Orleans last week.


Tampa Bay is seeking to become the first team in league history to advance to a Super Bowl that will be played in its home stadium.

"We don't play that game this week. That's the message to everybody," coach Bruce Arians said. "We play the Packers in the NFC championship game. If you start thinking about the Super Bowl, you get beat and (will) be packing your bags on Monday."


AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa contributed to this report.


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Updated January 23, 2021

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