Cole Beasley gives Tom Brady another target as Bucs meet Packers’ Aaron Rodgers – The Denver Post

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Cole Beasley gives Tom Brady another target as Bucs meet Packers' Aaron Rodgers - The Denver Post
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Three days after signing veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley to their practice squad, the Tampa Bay Bucs announced they were raising him for tonight’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Beasley, 33, was moved with veteran guard John Molchon, who has spent the majority of the past two seasons on Tampa Bay’s practice squad. Realistically, Beasley could provide a handful of quality reps for a unit that will be without Mike Evans (one-game suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring), and could miss Julio Jones (knee).

Jones will be a game-time decision, coach Todd Bowles said Friday.

“[Beasley’s] fast, catch up [really] fast, he understands the system,” added Bowles. “He’s played and he’s got a lot of reps under him, so if we needed him I think he’ll be ready.”

Green Bay (1-1) at Tampa Bay (2-0)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, WOFL-35

Betting line: 1½ Buccaneers, according to FanDuel SportsBook.

Against the spread: Packers 1-1, Buccaneers 2-0.

Series record: The Packers lead 33-23-1.

Last meeting: The Bucs defeated the Packers 31-26, NFC Championship Game, Jan. 24, 2021, in Green Bay.

Last week: The Packers beat the Bears 27-10; The Buccaneers beat the Saints 20-10.

Infringement by packers: Total (11), rush (6), assist (20), score (23).

Packers defense: : Total (10), rush (27), pass (4), score (7).

Bucs offense: : Total (24), rush (13), assist (23), score (18).

Bucs offense: : Total (5), rush (T9), pass (8), score (1).

Revenue differential: Packers minus 2; Bucs plus-4.

Packers player to watch: RB Aaron Jones. He’s coming off a huge performance in which he rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and caught 3 passes for 38 yards and another score. Jones struggled in the Packers’ two losses to Tampa Bay in 2020. He rushed for 15 yards on 10 carries in the regular season game and had a critical fumble in the NFC Championship Game while taking a blow that knocked him out for the rest of the day.

Bucs players to watch: QB Tom Brady. He didn’t need to be at his best the past two weeks to beat Dallas and New Orleans on the road, mostly because the Bucs defense was so dominant. In two games, he had 402 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception after leading the NFL in completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdowns last season. The challenge this week is to get the Bucs’ offense rolling despite first receiver Mike Evans serving a one-game suspension and the status of two other key playmakers, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, in the air. Brady is 5-2 and has thrown for 15 touchdowns in 7 career starts against Green Bay, including the playoffs.

Key match: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers against the Bucs’ defense, which has a league-leading 10 sacks and allowed just one touchdown in two games. Tampa Bay forced 5 turnovers against the Saints last week and leads the league in the fewest runs allowed (13) and is tied for second in opposing first downs per game (15) and in opposing third down conversion rate (25%).

Key injuries: Packers OT David Bakhtiari is yet to play this season and has only played one game since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on December 31, 2020. Godwin (hamstring) and Jones (knee ), as well as Bucs LT Donovan Smith (elbow) did not play against the Saints. Their status for this week is uncertain.

Notes on the series: The Packers have won three of the past four regular season matchups between former NFC Central rivals.

Stats and tips: The Packers and Bucs have the NFC’s two best regular season records since 2020. The Packers are 27-8 in the regular season, while the Bucs are 26-9. … This is only the fifth time Brady and Rodgers have faced off as starting quarterbacks. Brady’s teams have won three of four previous matchups, including Tampa Bay’s 31-26 NFC Championship Game win at Green Bay in the Bucs’ 2020 Super Bowl-winning season. Rodgers’ only win over a team managed by Brady was Green Bay’s 26-21 home triumph over New England in 2014. … The Packers allowed just one third conversion and 7 assists on the week last against the Bears. The 7 completions were the fewest they had allowed in a game since 2005. … Rodgers threw 2 touchdown passes last week to bring his career total to 451, becoming the fifth NFL player to have at least 450. Brady leads the way with 626. … The Packers committed just 5 penalties, the lowest total of any NFL team. … Green Bay’s Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are the first Packers running back tandem to each have 20+ carries and 100+ yards rushing in the first two games of a season since John Brockington and MacArthur Lane in 1973 … Packers OLB Preston Smith had 2 sacks and a team-high 7 tackles against the Bears. … This game will represent a homecoming for Packers rookie WR Christian Watson, a second-round pick from North Dakota State who went to Plant High School in Tampa.

Fancy tip: Bucs RB Leonard Fournette. He is fifth in the NFL rushing with 192 yards, including 127 against the Cowboys. With Evans out, Brady is also thinking of trying to use him more in the passing game. … The Packers allowed Chicago’s David Montgomery to rush for 122 yards on just 15 carries. Dalvin Cook ran for 90 against them a week earlier.

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