Zielinski: Which Packers will show up?


The Packers are inconsistent and difficult to evaluate right now. After rattling off victories against the Chargers, Lions, and Chiefs, the Packers laid an egg against the New York Giants on Monday.

On Sunday, the Packers (6-7) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) at Lambeau Field. After last week’s disappointing defeat, the Packers are desperate for a bounce-back performance. The game also has playoff implications on the line.

The Packers are battling injuries, especially offensively. Running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion are questionable to play. Receiver Christian Watson is doubtful, and tight end Luke Musgrave is on injured reserve. Receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks also are banged up but figure to play.

The Packers need to be better in the red zone offensively after converting on just two of their five trips against the Giants. The Buccaneers’ defense is difficult to score against and boasts the fourth-best red-zone scoring percentage in the NFL.

The Buccaneers have an adequate offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been inconsistent at times but has plenty of weapons around him to be dangerous on any given day. Running back Rachaad White has proven to be a threat in the rushing and passing attack. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are veteran, talented receivers who can beat opposing defenses.

The Buccaneers aren’t what they were a few years ago when they won the Super Bowl. But they are still a solid team vying for a playoff spot. This won’t be an easy contest for the Packers, and who knows what to expect from this young, inexperienced team. I could go either way, but right now, I’m leaning the Buccaneers.

Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Packers 20