NFC Championship Preview: Can the Bucs' defense slow down the Packers' offense?

Senior NFL Writers Terez Paylor and Charles Robinson discuss Sunday’s early game in Green Bay, as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers pay a visit to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Which GOAT has the edge in this one? Beyond the quarterbacks, what could be the x-factor to send one of these teams to the Super Bowl. Hear the full conversation on the Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

TEREZ PAYLOR: Bucs-Packers, the first game of the day on Sunday. Well, we've got the Bucs on the road at the Packers. And last time these two teams met, you know, the Bucs blew these guys out, which was really surprising. I don't think it's gonna be that way again. Also, I think the weather is gonna play a bit of a factor here. It's gonna be cold. Brady has played eight playoff games under 28 degrees at kickoff. He's 6-2. Rodgers has played eight games under 28 degrees in the playoffs. He's 7-1. So both these quarterbacks are adept at the cold, and I think this one's gonna come down to, you know, which team simply executes the best. I know it sounds simple. But Tampa is gonna need another great performance from their defense to keep this historically great offense in toe. Where you at with it?

CHARLES ROBINSON: If Tampa Bay's defense can apply itself, obviously, the way that it did against the Saints, this is a whole different ballgame for me. Because I don't expect-- Look, did Tom Brady have the greatest game that he could against the Saints? No, he didn't. But what mattered was he converted what mattered. When he got opportunities given to him by the defense, he made the difference here. And I don't tend to like cold games, and old guys in cold games, and old guys who don't like to get hit in cold games, so that makes me nervous about Tom Brady. But I will also say that this is what Tamps went and got the guy for. This is the moment where, you know, Tom Brady is built for postseason, and he tends to come through, at least for me, personally, in games where I don't think he's gonna come through. He puts up 300 yards and, you know, three touchdowns.

TEREZ PAYLOR: He loves being written off.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right. And he really does.

TEREZ PAYLOR: He loves it.

CHARLES ROBINSON: And so that's what makes this is an intriguing game to me, because I think it should be a close game. I know there are some people who think that the wheels come off for Tampa in this game. I actually think it could be a pretty good game. You know, I say that knowing that, I mean, quietly, like, Green Bay might be the best team in football right now, the way that our league's gone. I mean, this is unbelievable, the way they're playing. Not just Aaron. The defense. Everything about them is unreal right now.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Here's what helps them, right? So the Bucs are averaging almost 135 rushing yards a game in the playoffs. They've got a chance to keep that going against the league's 18th-ranked run defense. So, like, they can run the ball like they have been. I can see them keeping these pass rushers off Tom Brady. One more thing that I think is interesting here, and I think this will play into the, like, nobody believed in us theory with these Bucs, did you they only had one Pro Bowler this year? This team went 11-5. They had one Pro Bowler, and it was Jason Pierre-Paul.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, that's nuts.

TEREZ PAYLOR: Like, dude, like, please know, if they win this game, they're gonna mention that in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, you know, the Packers got a lot more respect. They had seven. So, you know, I think Vita Vea could play a big role in this game if he's allowed to play and he does come back, because the Packers' strength is in their balance. You know, either way, we talked Monday about how Rodgers needs this more, but this is just gonna be a great football game and a great environment against two GOATs. And I honestly can't wait for it, man. I think I will pick the Packers. But this does feel like the type of game, Tom wins, man. What is it? 14 championship games in years. Oh, my God.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Nine in 10. Nine in the last 10 is just completely nuts to me.