Welcome to the NFL, rook!

Welcome to the NFL, rook!

Now that I think we’ve sufficiently covered the stench of the Green Bay Packers 38-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it’s time to turn our attention to this weekend’s opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Like the Packers pre-Favre opponent, the Cleveland Browns, the Buccaneers are bad. In fact, they’re the only winless team left in the NFL and that’s not going to change this weekend. The Packers opened as a 10.5-point favorite.

To be fair to the Buccaneers, they aren’t quite as bad as the Browns, at least statistically.

The Bucs rank 28th in the league in total defense, compared to the Browns 32nd. The teams are giving up 376 and 409 yards per game, respectively. If the Buccaneers have a strength on defense, it’s against the pass, where they rank 15th in the league (214 yards per game). However, their run defense is atrocious (162 yards per game, 30th in the league), so Ryan Grant should look like a serviceable NFL running back again.

The Buccaneers have struggled so much on offense that they’re now on their third quarterback. After the benching of Byron Leftwich and then Josh Johnson, the Bucs will give rookie Josh Freeman his first start against the Packers. Freeman will be in for a long day.

The Buccaneers rank 28th in the league in offense, compared to Cleveland’s 31st. They average 272 and 221 yards per game, respectively. Tampa is 23rd in the league in passing (174 yards per game) and 24th in rushing (98 yards per game).

Expect those offensive numbers to be even lower against the Packers. With a rookie quarterback starting his first game, the Packers would be foolish not to load up on the Buccaneers running game and blitz on passing downs to confuse Freeman. In other words, if you have the Packers defense in your fantasy football league, start them.

If the Bucs have anything going in their favor, it’s that they’ll be wearing their Creamsicle orange throwback uniforms this weekend.

Fortunately for the Packers, that’s about all the Bucs have going for them.

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