(WLAX/WEUX) – Mike Ditka doesn’t get too excited about NFL games anymore.
The golf course and card games beckon in retirement, but the former Chicago Bears legend and ESPN analyst is looking forward to the Green Bay-Tampa Bay match-up Sunday afternoon.
“With Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, you have two of the best ever to play the game,” Ditka said while enjoying a post-round game of Gin Rummy with friends in the clubhouse Friday in steamy Florida. “Both are great leaders and make the players around them better. And that may decide which team wins Sunday: which players around the quarterback step up on Sunday.”
It’s a showdown of stars that Brady and Rodgers will, of course, downplay when 4-0 Green Bay faces 3-2 Tampa Bay in the Florida heat at 3:25 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised exclusively by FOX 25/48 in Western Wisconsin.
“I’m not playing against Tom, I’m playing against the Buccaneers’ defense,” Rodgers said. “That’s how it should be viewed.
“He’s obviously done it at the highest of levels for so long. He’s been an icon at the position. He’s been somebody that we’ve all looked up to for so many years as the standard of excellence.”
Brady returned the compliment.
“When you play against another great quarterback, you always know those are the tough teams to beat because they’re prepared, they’re going to play well on offense, they’ve got a very talented defense. It just means you can’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Even future Hall of Famers make mistakes—and forget the downs—as Tampa Bay rebounds from an ugly 20-19 loss to the Bears last week. Brady
This game marks just the third time Brady and Rodgers have gone head-to-head as starting quarterbacks. As a New England Patriot, Brady lost their first meeting in Green Bay, 26-21, in 2014. Four years later in New England, the Patriots prevailed 31-17.
This game is an key NFC division match-up early in the season. The 3-2 Bucs are in a three-way tie for first place with Carolina and New Orleans in the NFC South, while the Packers hold a one-game lead over the surprising Chicago Bears in the NFC North.
Week 6 NFL Picks
Compelling match-up: Brady-Rodgers, Green Bay’s #2 ranked offense (445 yards per game) vs Tampa’s #4 rated defense (298 yards per game). Return of Adams and Clark bolsters Packers as Rodgers’ hot hand continues.
Packers 33, Buccaneers 27