The Green Bay Packers (4-0) will put their unbeaten record on the line when they travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers (3-2) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Here are five keys to victory for Matt LaFleur’s team in Week 6:
Can the Packers pressure Tom Brady and make him uncomfortable?
If Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is able to drop back and sit in a clean pocket, there is a good chance the three-time MVP will be able to pick apart the Green Bay defense. In order for the Packers to consistently slow down Tampa Bay, Mike Pettine’s group will need to get after Brady. According to Pro Football Focus, Brady’s passer rating plummets to 47.7 when under pressure this season. Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary will need to apply consistent disruption from the edge. The return of Kenny Clark should help collapse the pocket from the inside and keep Brady from sliding around the pocket and finding throwing lanes.
Krys Barnes needs to be on top of his game
It’s certainly rare for an undrafted rookie to be placed in this situation, especially at an important position like inside linebacker. But, due to injury, Barnes will find himself starting once again on Sunday for the Packers. And the rookie out of UCLA will have his hands full when he takes the field. He doesn’t have a ton of NFL experience, so expect Brady and coach Bruce Arians to attack Barnes early and often. He’ll also need to play well against running back Ronald Jones, who has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. For Green Bay to get to win No. 5, Barnes will need to rise to the occasion.
Before suffering a hamstring injury, Adams was almost unstoppable. In two games, the former Fresno State wide receiver caught 17 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay’s offense didn’t miss a beat during Adams’ two-game absence, but there is no doubt that a healthy Adams will be a welcome sign on Sunday, especially against one of the NFL’s best defenses. If the Packers’ top pass-catcher has fully healed from his injury, we could see the Packers offense go to another level.
This could end up being one of the better individual matchups of the NFL season. Alexander has a grade of 90.9 at Pro Football Focus, leading all cornerbacks, while Evans – who has six touchdown catches in five games – has established himself as one of the better pass catchers in football. If Alexander is able to limit Evans’ production, Green Bay will have a great shot at walking away with a win. Alexander will really have to play a great game if the Packers are without Kevin King, especially considering Bucs receiver Chris Godwin will return from a hamstring injury on Sunday.
Can Aaron Jones produce against a great defense?
Jones has been doing it all for the Green Bay offense this season. Heading into Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, Jones is on pace to rush for almost 1,500 yards and score 24 total touchdowns. The Buccaneers will counter with the league’s best run defense and fast, capable coverage players at the second level. If Matt LaFleur can find ways to get Jones rolling, the Packers offense could cruise again.