Back in the early days the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were part of the NFC Central and trips to the bitter cold midwest were a yearly part of the schedule. As the part of the WTOG TV channel 44 team and producer of The John Mc Kay Show, we visited Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings and lets just say it was never easy.
Sunday afternoon the Buccaneers will face the Packers at Lambeau Field for the NFC championship matchup. The forecast calls for game time temps in the low 20’s with a possibility of snow. For Tom Brady who spent his career in New England this type of weather is not new.
“It’s great for our team,” said Brady, who further establishes how responsible he was for all those titles in New England with each victory in Tampa. “We worked hard to get to this point. Two road playoff wins is pretty sweet.”
Which two teams will be sweetest? The teams that will head to Tampa — yes, that’s where the Super Bowl will be staged on Feb. 7, and no team has played in the big game on its home field.
Both teams used key plays by their defense to win in the divisional round, and likely will need similar performances to advance. Sure, the Bucs and Pack are lauded for their offense, from their quarterbacks — Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has had perhaps the best season of his illustrious career — to strong runners Leonard Fournette and Aaron Jones, to a bevy of receivers, to solid lines. But holding down All-Pros Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams is a must for Tampa Bay. So is neutralizing Brady hooking up with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate.
“It was huge. I think the defense was the key to the game,” Brady said after the win over the Saints. It needs to be huge once more.”
As for the conditions at Lambeau Field, well, forecasts call for temperatures in the 20s, which certainly is cold for a team from Florida, but not frigid. And remember where Brady won all those titles.
Oddly, the Packers have not won an NFC championship game at home since the 1996 season. They are four-point favorites in the earliest betting lines. If that seems low, remember who is quarterbacking the opposition.
The early Vegas line – Packers are four point favorite.