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Loading The Cannons: Week 13 Bucs at Packers

The big story this week is Jameis Winston is back under center.  Bucs look to start a new win streak as they head to Green Bay to take on the Packers.

The Bucs two game winning streak came to a screeching halt after being defeated by the Falcons.  Green Bay, meanwhile, suffered an agonizing last second defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Keys to the Game:

The Buccaneers announced this week that Jameis Winston would be the starting QB against Green Bay on Sunday.  Good news has been hard to come by for the Bucs lately.  Tampa has suffered major injuries on both sides of the ball in recent weeks.  Starting Center, Ali Marpet, is done for the season and so is Right Tackle, Demar Dotson.  The decision to start Jameis is questionable.  It doesn’t seem to make much sense to put your star quarterback at risk, now down two starters on the offensive line.  Not to mention the team currently sits at 4-7 on the season.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Jacquizz Rodgers will be getting the start this week in place of Doug Martin.  Martin is still in the league’s concussion protocol and hasn’t practiced all week.  It looks like both CB Vernon Hargreaves and Safety T.J. Ward will miss this week’s game as well.

For the Bucs to have a chance this week, they’re going to need to overcome all of the injuries and hope that Jameis can carry this team on his back.  They’re going to need a near perfect performance and limit the mistakes.  Hopefully, the time off the field for Jameis gave him the opportunity to get healthy, sit back, watch and learn from his previous mistakes.

The Bucs showed a good amount of fight in their loss last week.

Tampa trailed 20-6 at halftime.  Julio Jones was having his way with the secondary and things looked bleak.  In the second half, however, the Bucs battled back and actually cut the deficit to 27-20.  Tampa just couldn’t come all the way back, but you do have to like that they didn’t just roll over and die.  At this point in the season when you’re not preforming up to expectations it’s easy to just roll over.

Here is some more good news for the Bucs this week, the Packers do not have Julio Jones.  Granted, they’ll still have to deal with talented receivers such as Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams.

Aaron Rodgers isn’t throwing these guys the ball either, so there’s another positive.  Brett Hundley has been inconsistent in relief of Rodgers, but has shown flashes at times.  The Buccaneers will need their defensive stars, such as, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander to show up and get after Hundley.

Predictions:

If Aaron Rodgers were healthy this would be a no brainer in favor of the Packers.  Hundley’s inconsistencies gives hope, however.  Playing in Lambeau is never easy.  Doesn’t matter if the tundra is frozen or not.

Tampa has to stay away from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for their passing game to have some success.  It was mentioned earlier that the defensive stars need to show up, but so do the offensive stars.  It was unacceptable that last week, neither Cameron Brate, nor O.J. Howard were targeted in the first half against the Falcons.  Hopefully, Dirk Koetter remembers that he has not only one, but two talented TE’s at his disposal.  Use them.

Weather isn’t going to play a factor in this week’s game at Lambeau, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an ugly game.  Yes, Winston is back, but is he 100%?  He’ll be a little rusty and make some questionable decisions.  This game will be close.  Tampa and Green Bay will trade scores late in the game, but Mason Crosby sends the home team and their fans home happy.

Final Score: Packers win 24-22


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