Inside The Buccaneers at Vikings
The Thursday night match-ups have proven to be must-see TV. Let’s dive into Week 8′s clash that features two teams that appear to be going in very different directions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
What This Game Means: The Vikings may have defeated the Cardinals last week but their aerial attack had nothing to do with it.
Thus far, sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder has elevated his team to higher ground. On Sunday he sputtered and that is cause for concern.
Ponder’s meager 58 passing yards is not reflective of the guy that set his detractors straight early on in the year.
For the Vikings to flourish moving into the second-half of the 2012-2013 run, Ponder will have to offset the greatness that is Adrian Peterson’s rushing attack.
To do so, a healthy mix of both Percy Harvin and the returning Jerome Simpson must be on the menu.
In the NFC North, The Vikings are batting second between the 5-1 Bears and the suddenly surging Green Bay Packers who are 4-3.
They cannot afford to slip on a banana peel against the Buccaneers.
The great news for Ponder is that Tampa’s pass defense is just horrid. They give up yards and points with ease and they should allow Ponder to return to form.
For the Bucs, they are offensively looking better and better with each game. Though they lost their shootout with their division rivals the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, they posted a Pandora’s Box worth of points and yardage.
At 2-4, Tampa can’t afford to fall short again anytime soon.
Key losses against NFC teams such as the Dallas Cowboys who will probably join them in the Wild Card fight won’t help them later on down the road.
To work around some of the mess that they have created, they have to take this game.
From the outside looking in, it appears to be a long shot based on the fact that their secondary play is awful.
You never know how teams will behave when their back is against the wall and if they drop to 2-5 this early into their run, they will have to be perfect down-the-stretch to even entertain a playoff berth.
With such a young team save the presence of Ronde Barber, it’s hard to bet on them being built with that degree of fortitude.
Prediction: The Vikings will offensively slap Tampa in the face early and often to get the win. Josh Freeman and his offense will answer but ultimately the Vikings will prove to be too much for them.