Packers vs. Buccaneers Pick and Prediction: Lean Towards Tampa Bay in Week 3

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Wide receiver Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a one handed catch in front of Janoris Jenkins #20 of the New York Giants. Naomi Baker/Getty Images/AFP.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the right NFL pick when they host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, but just barely.

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Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium

It’s like Christmas in September. Our NFL picks have been raking in the cash here at the home office; yes, we are into the analytics, thank you very much.

It’s not just us, though; there’s a lot of dead money out there to scoop up now that the market is bursting at the seams with recreational bettors. Too bad we’ve got two of the league’s most public teams facing each other this Sunday.

It’s Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, with the Bucs moving from -3.5 to -2 in early action on the NFL odds board at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). We probably would have taken Green Bay at +3.5, too.

The consensus reports at top-rated sportsbooks show 94% support for the Packers as we go to press, but now that the Bucs are only -2, our prescient analytic models prefer Tampa, at least for a fun-size bet.

Is Tom Brady Washed?

It has to happen eventually. But even if Brady has made a deal with the devil, or he’s been putting deer-antler extract in his magic water, he can only do so much with the talent surrounding him. The Bucs had a laundry list of injured players on offense heading into their Week 2 matchup with the New Orleans Saints:

  • C Ryan Jensen (knee)
  • LT Donovan Smith (elbow)
  • WR Chris Godwin (hamstring)
  • WR Julio Jones (knee)

That list didn’t include RB Leonard Fournette, who’s gimpy with a bad hamstring, nor WR Mike Evans, who’s been bothered by a calf injury. It also doesn’t include the following players who got hurt last week:

  • LT Josh Wells (calf)
  • RB Gio Bernard (ankle)

With all his teammates falling around him like flies, Brady was limited to 190 yards on 18-of-34 passing for one touchdown, and he was clearly upset about it, too, throwing one of his signature tantrums on the sidelines.

But just when it looked like the Saints were going to cover for us as 2.5-point home dogs, or even win outright, the Bucs exploded in the fourth quarter for a 20-10 victory. Blame the devil, or blame Tampa Bay’s defense, which is really, really good.

Is Mike Evans Playing Sunday?

Maybe. Evans was suspended for one game for being the third man in during a scuffle between Fournette and Saints CB Marshon Lattimore, but Evans is appealing that ruling, so he might be available versus the Packers.

Justice works very slowly indeed in south Florida. Several of the injured players on the lists above might also suit up for Week 3. It’s up in the air at press time, but you can see why the sharps were eager to pounce on Green Bay at +3.5, especially after what the Packers did in Week 2.

Are the Packers Back in Business?

Sure looks that way. Green Bay has a history of getting off to slow starts with Rodgers under center, but he’s got five letters for you: R-E-L-A-X.

Rodgers rebounded from that season-opening loss to Minnesota with an efficient Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, going 19-of-25 for 234 yards, two TD tosses and zero picks in a 27-10 victory as 10.5-point home faves.

The Bears almost got the backdoor cover, though, and maybe they should have. It sure looked like Justin Fields crossed the goal line during that highly questionable QB sneak out of the shotgun in the fourth quarter. Oh well.

We didn’t have that game in our Week 2 NFL picks, so we still have all our hair intact. Most of us, anyway. This is also the Bears we’re talking about.

Packers' Defense

They’re not awful on defense, posting a plus-2.2 on the Simple Rating System at Pro Football Reference through two games.

But they can’t even hold a candle to the Bucs (plus-16.4 DSRS), or the Vikings (plus-21.2 DSRS) for that matter.

Packer's Offensive

The Packers also have their own offensive line concerns, most notably LT David Bakhtiari (knee), who didn’t play Sunday night and always seems to be a week or two away from returning to action.

Packers vs. Buccaneers: Pick and Prediction

Given all these issues, we’re certainly willing to throw a small bet at Tampa Bay now that they’re available at -2.

And for an exact score prediction, our models have it close to Bucs 22, Packers 19, but we’re going to bump that up to 23-20, since Scorigami says that result happens about 10 times as often.

Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

Score Prediction: Packers 20, Buccaneers 23

NFL Pick: Buccaneers -2 (-115) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Buccaneers -2 (-115)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.