One of the Buccaneers’ best offensive players is at risk of missing the NFC Championship game against the Packers on Sunday.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown limped for much of the divisional round with a knee injury and received an MRI on Monday afternoon, according to ESPN. The results of the test have not yet been announced.
Brown’s devastating bursts on short roads make him an important part of quarterback Tom Brady’s game plan. Opponents must account for him near the line of scrimmage while protecting themselves from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin who sprint past high school to carry deep balls. Without him in alignment, an entire dimension of a powerful attack would be hampered.
Coach Bruce Arians declined to speculate on the severity of Brown’s injury after Tampa Bay beat New Orleans last weekend.
Godwin has been plagued by drops this month after being confident throughout the regular season. In potentially freezing conditions at Lambeau Field, this problem could be magnified. Brown has appeared in 12 playoff games in his career and caught 62.1% of his targets – better than Godwin’s rate of 47.4% in a limited sample.
Brady connected with unannounced receivers at the end of the Saints win, making key completions for Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson. They would play a bigger role if Brown was limited in the future.
Plus, Brady can always turn to trusted tight end Rob Gronkowski – one of his favorite teammates and another proven playoff contender.
The Buccaneers are 7-3 in games Brown has appeared in this season.