AR12 vs. TB12: A Preview

Believe it or not, Aaron Rodgers plays a big factor into whether or not the Packers come away with a win each game.

In big games like Sunday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many fans and analysts alike will praise Rodgers in big wins and deflect blame to other parts of the team when they come up short. However, regardless of how poor the defense may play or the inexperience in the wide receiver room, Rodgers will need to play an A game on Sunday and in any other big game they’’ have this year.

The 1-1 Packers head down to Tampa Bay for the marquee week 3 matchup on FOX. With Mike Evans suspended and Chris Godwin and Julio Jones not at 100% or possibly not playing at all, the Packers have an opportunity to capitalize on a banged-up team.

These types of games provide an opportunity for teams and players alike to make a statement. If Rodgers and the Packers want teams in the NFC to take them seriously, they must steal Sunday’s contest.

Above all the hype around Green Bay’s defense and how good Tampa Bay has been in the past, Rodgers must play well in order to win. He won’t be able to be carried by the defense or simply hand off the ball to Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon all game.

TB’s front 7 will cause issues for Green Bay all game, even if by some miracle David Bakhtiari returns from injury. Throughout the game, Rodgers will have to step up and make plays to will the Green and Gold to a big win.

In past big games, especially the playoff loss to the 49ers last January, Rodgers has played subpar and been a significant part of the blame for the Packers bowing out of the playoffs for the past 11 years.

Looking at the 2020 playoff loss to Tampa, many looked to blame Kevin King for his impressively bad game or the offensive line for not giving Rodgers enough time.

While both of these are true, Rodgers played probably a B game at best. His interception before half led to the Scotty Miller touchdown, and he only put up 6 points off three consecutive interceptions from his defense.

Getting three interceptions in three straight possessions is unheard of, and they did it against Tom Brady at that. I could go year by year with all the losses, but it would be redundant. Rodgers has to play at his MVP level in these big games.

Can Rodgers control his defense giving up 30, or even 40 points in most of those playoff losses? Of course not. There is only so much Rodgers can control. But, could he not throw one or two interceptions in the first half as the game is getting out of hand? Absolutely.

This isn’t meant to be a piece bashing Rodgers. No. 12 will be my favorite player for as long as I live, and he’s the only reason the Packers franchise is in the position it’s in today. But, in order for Green Bay to finally make that leap as a Super Bowl team, Rodgers will have to play as the 4-time MVP he is in those big games. And Sunday is a prime opportunity to do so.
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