Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Thus far, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank dead last in the league in offensive efficiency through two weeks. Quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t necessarily been the problem, but he entered the season already missing a pair of starters on the offensive line for the season and then lost another starter, left tackle Donovan Smith, during week 1, while his receiving corps hasn’t been much healthier. Chris Godwin got hurt week 1, has missed most of the first two games of the season, and will remain out this week. Julio Jones missed last week and is a gametime decision this week, as is Russell Gage, while top wide receiver Mike Evans is out for this game with a suspension.
With Brady missing all of this key personnel, this line has shifted from favoring the Buccaneers by 3 points at home on the early line last week to favoring them by just a single point this week, a significant shift given that 1 in 5 games are decided by exactly 2-3 points. However, the other Hall of Fame quarterback in this matchup, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, isn’t working with the best supporting cast either, with a receiving corps that was already struggling to replace Davante Adams now missing Sammy Watkins and possibly missing Christian Watson and Randall Cobb. Rodgers’ offensive line has gotten healthier, with Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan returning last week and David Bakhtiari at least possibly returning this week, but he probably won’t be 100% even if does play, Jenkins did not look 100% in his return last week, and overall I don’t have the Packers’ offensive supporting cast as being significantly better than the Buccaneers’ in my roster rankings.
I also trust Brady a little more to make things happen with less, as he tends to play his best football when he needs to in tough games like this. Overall, Brady is a ridiculous 59-28 ATS against the spread as underdogs or favorites of less than a field goal, as he is this week, including 2-0 ATS already this season, winning in Dallas and New Orleans as 2.5-point road favorites, doing so despite their poor offensive performance, led by a defense that ranks 2nd in defensive efficiency. That defense is another big advantage Brady has over Rodgers and, overall, my calculated line suggests the Buccaneers would be a good value all the way up to -3.5, so they are a good bet at -1, especially since Brady has been close to automatic in his career in tough games where he just needs to win to cover. This is one of my top plays this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Green Bay Packers 20
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -1