Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (38-10 Buccaneers)
Mike The Ace @TheAceWriter
Through the first five weeks of the season, the Packers looked like one of the most complete teams in the NFL. Despite not having star receiver Devante Adams for most of the season, Aaron Rodgers had looked like an early MVP candidate. The Packers faced a formidable opponent this week, taking on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers came out very aggressively on the defensive side of the football. Bucs’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles loves to dial up the blitz, and this week’s game plan was no different. The Green Bay offense responded well to the pressure at first, using short throws and misdirection plays to pick up good yardage.
Following a successful first quarter, the Packers seemed to be in complete control of this game. Green Bay held a 10-0 lead, and their defense was playing well. After another defensive stop, the Packers had the ball again, primed to put more pressure on Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense. Everything changed after Rodgers was intercepted by Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean.
Dean read the route from receiver Devante Adams perfectly, making the interception along the sideline and returning it for a touchdown. Rodgers would go on to throw another pick on the following drive. The second turnover was secured by rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who was able to run the ball back to the 2-yard line.
Rodgers and the Packers’ offense was never able to get back on track after the turnovers. The blitzing pressure from the Bucs defense overwhelmed the Packers’ offensive line. Rodgers was sacked 4 times and finished the game just 16 of 35, for 160 passing yards, and no passing touchdowns.
This game was all about the Tampa Bay defense. They dominated this football game, and kept a high octane offense in check. Both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady struggled throwing the football, and the Buccaneers relied on their running game to seal the victory. The Packers offense will look to bounce back against a poor Houston Texans’ defense next week.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys (38-10 Cardinals)
In what was Kyler Murray’s homecoming in Jerry’s World, there were a few big highlights for Arizona. In comparison to what was a sloppy game for their opponent, the Dallas Cowboys.
When the season started, we touted Andy Dalton as one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league, but he didn’t have a good showing Monday. He went 34-54 with 266 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception. The main issue though, was the play of running back Ezekiel Elliott. After both teams couldn’t really get anything going on offense, Zeke then had two fumbles on back to back drives. These turnovers put the Cardinals offense deep in Cowboys territory, and they punched in two touchdowns. This caused the Cowboys to try and use Tony Pollard to maybe switch it up, but that wasn’t much better. This was the reason Andy Dalton had to make 54 pass attempts, which you do not want from your backup quarterback.
Kyler Murray went 9/24 with 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 74 rushing yards. He didn’t have a great passing game, outside of a few deep throws. The running game carried the team with 261 total yards, Kenyan Drake accounting for 164 yards rushing. The offense is still a work in progress, trying to work the run game into the air raid offense. I love to see Kliff Kingsbury lean on the rushing game, especially with the Cowboys having the 31st rank rush defense.
I still like the Cardinals even though their offense isn’t clicking 100%. By that, I mean receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Kirk or Isabella having 80-90+ yard games receiving, with Drake having over 100 rushing yards. The Cardinals have a great young defense, so i feel like they will be able to win them games. Defense is especially important in that tough NFC West division. The Cowboys will need Zeke Elliott to step up in Dak’s absence. He can’t continue being the reason they are losing games.