The 8-2 Green Bay Packers and the 8-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. At stake will be the best record in the NFL, plus gaining the upper hand in getting home field advantage in the NFC throughout the playoffs. <p>

This will be a battle of teams that are very different, yet also very similar. The Packer's offense is much more explosive. The Bucs' defense is much more dominating. Both teams run a version of the west coast offense. Both teams run a version of the one gap defense. The game will come down to many factors. For the Packers to win, here are 10 keys to victory:

1) Protect the football. Brett Favre and Ahman Green both need to be very careful with the rock. Both play with a lot of confidence. Both have a never say die attitude. But against the Bucs, you have to live to see another day, or at least live to run another play. Be aggressive, but also be smart.

2) Take advantage of Tampa Bay's injuries. The Bucs have a number of key players out or nicked up. DT Booger McFarland was having a Pro Bowl type of season before his broken forearm injury. The Packers need to pound the football up the middle with a mix of dives, traps, and cutback runs to take advantage of McFarland's absence. DB Ronde Barber will play this week with a broken thumb. This will cause him problems in press coverage as well as hindering him while attempting to tackle. The Bucs also have people banged up on their offensive line and at WR. The bottom line is to be very physical.

3) Speaking of running the ball, the Packers need to have a balanced attack. The Buccaneers are very quick on defense, but also very under sized. The Packers need to keep sending the Bucs a heavy dose of the running game. This will eventually wear down the Bucs, plus set up the play action passing attack.

4) Get an early lead and take the crowd out of the game. The Packers had a chance last year to get an early score in the game at Tampa. The Packers were deep in the Buc's red zone when Favre throw an interception to LB Shelton Quarles that was returned 98 yards for a touchdown. The Packers need to convert early drives into points. By getting an early lead, the Packers will also be able to try and establish the running game.

5) Protect Brett Favre. Like the Bucs, the Packers have injury concerns. The offensive line is being shuffled again this week because of a knee injury to RG Marco Rivera. C Mike Flanagan is moving to RG, while C Frank Winters returns to anchor the offensive line. DT Warren Sapp will certainly try and take advantage of this scenario. DE Simeon Rice will also bring heat from the outside as he lines up over OT Chad Clifton. The Packers need to run a lot of quick rhythm pass patterns. They need to be careful in the shotgun because of the crowd noise. The Packers also need to keep the Bucs honest by running screens and draws.

6) Take advantage of the Bucs' offensive line problems. The Bucs have not been able to generate a good running game all season. QB Brad Johnson suffered broken ribs a few weeks ago because of the pounding he has taken while attempting to pass. The line has played better the last couple of weeks, but they are banged up with injuries. OT Kenyatta Walker has a sprained ankle. C Jeff Christy just had his knee scoped. G Kerry Jenkins suffered a broken leg and an eye injury earlier in the year. The Packers need to play 8 in the box and dare the Bucs to pass. Brad Johnson is accurate, but his arm strength is marginal. Look for Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila to have a huge game.

7) Utilize the tight end. If the Packers can keep the Bucs in their cover 2 defensive scheme a lot, they can take advantage of the middle of the field. TE Bubba Franks should be able to find open seams over the middle, especially if a Packer WR can run off S John Lynch on a deep pattern. Slants over the middle can be effective as well, although dangerous at times because of the presence of the hard hitting Lynch. Lynch does have marginal speed however, and the Packer's faster wide receivers can take advantage of that.

8) Throw the ball deep from time to time. The Bucs are famous for their cover 2 defensive scheme. However, more times than not, the Bucs will sneak S John Lynch towards the line of scrimmage. Lynch is like a 4th linebacker in this scenario. Favre needs to recognize this, and take advantage by occasionly throwing the deep ball to keep Lynch and the Bucs honest.

9) Special teams have to come to play. K Ryan Longwell and P Josh Bidwell have been solid. However, the coverage and return units have been below par. The Buc's Karl Williams is a very dangerous punt returner. The Packer's punt return game is still waiting to arrive. Darrian Gordon needs to first catch the ball and hopefully get at least 10 yards per return. The Packer's kick returns have gotten better with rookie WR Javon Walker becoming more effective each week. Longwell's kick offs have to get better, as does the kick return coverage. The bottom line is that all 3 phases of the game have to be played well. It would be a shame to lose a game of this magnitude because of a special teams mistake.

10) Play with poise, passion, and patience. The Packers can not to afford to lose control of their emotions like they did last week against the Vikings. Games on the road are unforgiving. The Packers need to play their game and play their game well, and the rest will take care of itself. Raymond James Stadium can get very loud when the Bucs are playing well, but very quiet when the team is struggling. The Packers are hoping that at the end of the contest that Raymond James Stadium becomes Raymond James Library, except for the loyal throng of cheeseheads that will be celebrating a victory in the new sombrero.

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