The Green Bay Packers already clinched their spot in the NFC Championship Game and will have to see if they’ll face the Saints or Buccaneers, both of whom are tough matchups.
Going into the Divisional Round, the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Rams was billed as the top offense and the top defense, respectively, clashing in highly entertaining fashion. The end result, however, was much less dramatic. Behind another pristine Aaron Rodgers performance, the Packers handled business and won, 32-18, to clinch an NFC Championship Game berth.
As the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the 2021 playoffs, the Packers will get to host the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. They’ll be up against the winner of the other Divisional Round matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the No. 2 and 5 seeds, respectively, on Sunday night.
Green Bay at home is the clear favorite to advance to Super Bowl LV out of the NFC. However, if they had their pick, would they rather face the Saints or Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game? Let’s dive into that question and find an answer.
Why the Green Bay Packers would want to face the Saints
Green Bay went on the road to New Orleans in Week 3 for a highly touted matchup with the Saints and the Packers dominated the action. Rodgers tossed three touchdowns while Aaron Jones found his way on the ground in a 37-30 victory for the visitors.
Even so, things have changed for the Saints since. The offense has continued to be a bit of a mixed bag, albeit with injuries to Drew Brees and Michael Thomas playing a role in that. However, the defense has taken it up a few notches since the first month of the season. While it’s hard to imagine anyone stopping the Packers with the way they’re currently playing, New Orleans would have a shot.
Moreover, Brees and the Saints are playing with plenty of motivation. With this being the future Hall-of-Famer’s final season, they want to send him out a winner — even if that means playing outdoors in the NFC Championship Game.
Why the Green Bay Packers would want to face the Bucs
In stark contrast to what happened against the Saints during the regular season, arguably the worst loss of the season for the Packers came against the Buccaneers. Coming off of their bye into Week 6, the Pack went on the road to Tampa Bay and were completely shut down, losing 38-10.
That was the worst game for the Green Bay offense and perhaps the best game for the Bucs offense this season. But since that time, things have changed. Not only have Rodgers and company been an unstoppable force as of late, but the Tampa offense has also been inconsistent and the defense has taken a substantial step back in terms of their performance
Tom Brady is never a friendly face to see in the playoffs but, outside of his name value, the Bucs aren’t as scary of a team as their first meeting with Green Bay would possibly make them out to be.
Better NFC Championship matchup for the Green Bay Packers
If you just look at what happened in the regular season, you would likely conclude that the Packers would rather play the Saints. And it does feel safe to say that Tom Brady in the postseason with all of the weapons he has in Tampa Bay does strike a bit more fear into the hearts of Green Bay. But even with all that, the better matchup for the Pack is the Buccaneers.
As mentioned, Tampa’s defense has performed like a completely different unit lately than when they met Green Bay earlier in the regular season. Moreover, the Bucs offense still hasn’t looked like it’s hitting on all cylinders. When you take that all into account, it’s Tompa Bay that the Packers want to see in Lambeau Field next week.