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Buccaneers vs Packers Injury Report and COVID Updates for NFC Championship Game

Kevin Allen

by Kevin Allen in NFL Football

Jan 22, 2021 · 2:34 PM PST

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown running a route
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown runs a route against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md. Tampa Bay won 31-23. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • The Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers (13-3) are 3.5-point favorites against the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) in their NFC Championship game Sunday at 3:05 pm ET
  • Buccaneers’ receiver Antonio Brown (knee) won’t play in the game
  • See below for a full roundup of injuries, plus analysis of their impact

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received disappointing injury news Friday when it was determined that Antonio Brown (knee) won’t play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

The Buccaneers, 3.5-point underdogs, are losing one of their dangerous offensive weapons.

Brown had scored touchdowns in four of his last five games, including a 36-yard TD pass from Tom Brady in the Bucs’ Wild Card victory against the Washington Football Team. With Brown out, Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson will get expanded opportunities.

The Packers, 11-6 against the spread this season, are reasonably healthy.

Bucs Injury Report | Packers Injury Report

Buccaneers Injury Report

Player Position Injury or Illness Friday Practice Status
Antonio Brown WR Knee DNP Out
Mike Evans WR Knee Limited Practice
Chris Godwin WR Quadricep Limited Practice
Ronald Jones RB Finger/Quadricep Full Practice
Sean Murphy-Bunting CB Quadricep/ankle Full Practice
Jordan Whitehead S Knee Limited Practice
Antoine Winfield S Ankle DNP Questionable
Jason Pierre-Paul LB Knee DNP
Ali Marpet G Pectoral Full Practice
Jeremiah Ledbetter DL Calf Full Practice
Ndamukong Suh DT No injury DNP

All information taken from the Official NFL Injury Reports.

Key Defensive Lineman Cleared to Play

When it comes to Tampa Bay’s injury list, who is playing is as important as who won’t be in the lineup against the Packers.

The Buccaneers confirmed Friday, as expected, that defensive tackle Vita Vea, ranked by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s No. 2 interior defender, is coming off  injured reserve and suiting up for the NFC Championship Game. He hasn’t played since fracturing his ankle on October 8.

Vea will have an impact on the Packers’ ground game. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, without Vea, the Buccaneers gave up an average of 3.9 yards per carry. When he was in the lineup, Tampa Bay’s defense gave up 2.7 yards per carry.

Safety Antoine Winfield’s “questionable” status is the Buccaneers’ only other significant concern.

Packers Injury Report

Player Position Injury or Illness Friday Practice Status
Krys Barnes LB Thumb Limited Practice
Mason Crosby K Shoulder Limited Practice
AJ Dillon RB Quadricep Limited Practice
Kingsley Keke DL Concussion DNP Out
Kevin King CB Back DNP Questionable
Allen Lazard WR Wrist/Back Limited Practice
Mercedes Lewis TE Knee Full Practice
Will Redmond S Knee Limited Practice
Za’Darius Smith LB Thumb Limited Practice
Equanimeous St. Brown WR Knee/Ankle Limited Practice
Rick Wagner T Knee Limited Practice Questionable
Jamaal Williams RB Ankle Limited Practice

All information taken from the Official NFL Injury Reports

Packers Lose a Defensive Lineman

The Packers said Kingsley Keke (concussion) is the only injured player who is definitely out of Sunday’s NFC Championship. However, cornerback Kevin King (back) is questionable.

They might know Saturday whether he will be able to play. Keke practiced briefly on Wednesday, but not on Friday. Injured kicker Mason Crosby and injured running back AJ Dillon will play. That is probably the best news for the Packers.

Injury News Shouldn’t Move Spread

Even before the Jones injury news broke, the Packers had moved from a 3-point to 3.5-point favorite. Tampa Bay’s disappointing injury news is offset by the good news of Vea’s return. Plus, the Buccaneers have Mike Evans (70 catches, 1,006 yards) and Chris Godwin (65, 840) ahead of Jones on the wideout depth chart. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also had 45 catches for 623 yards. The news of Winfield’s questionable status is alarming for the Buccaneers.

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