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PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the fourth of five key matchups in the Packers' Week 11 game against the Buccaneers Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib vs. Packers WR Greg Jennings
With the Buccaneers' pass defense falling to 28th in yards allowed while surrendering three TDs of at least 78 yards, Jennings could be in for a big afternoon this Sunday. The tremendously gifted Talib normally takes on the opposition's top receiver. Going up against Jennings, it will be important for Talib to stay disciplined, which has been a problem for the 20th pick overall in the 2008 draft. The long-armed Talib has off-the-charts athleticism, top speed and excellent ball skills, but he is not very physical, and his lack of maturity and run-ins with the law have been well-documented.
Before being placed on injured reserve with a hip injury last season, Talib had six interceptions in 11 games. This season, he has registered only one interception, but he returned it 28 yards for a TD in the season opener vs. Detroit. Talib is tied for second on the team with nickel corner E.J. Biggers in pass breakups with seven, one behind veteran CB Ronde Barber.
Jennings has picked up where he left off last season, when he couldn't have been more deserving of his first Pro Bowl berth. He has a TD catch in every game but two, leads the team with 51 receptions (17 more than Jordy Nelson, Green Bay's second-leading receiver) and has registered three 100-yard receiving games. Jennings beat zone coverage on his 24-yard TD against Minnesota and was one of five different Packers receivers with three catches (for 32 yards). He has continued to run picture-perfect routes and make great adjustments. His knack for never tipping his hand on his routes and his ability to snatch passes at the very last second could pose big problems for Talib.