Buccaneers vs. Vikings: Sketching out a Game Plan for Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a Week 7 heart-breaker to the New Orleans Saints but don’t have much time to sit around sullen and dejected. The team will travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Thursday night and have plenty to prepare for.

Not only are the Vikings a surprising 5-2 this year, but the team possesses a dual threat on offense in running back Adrian Peterson, who is third in the NFL in rushing, and wide receiver Percy Harvin, who is second in the league in receptions.

The Buccaneers also have nine-game road losing streak hanging on their backs. Tampa Bay’s last win away from Raymond James Stadium came during Week 2 last year, ironically enough a come-from-behind win over the Vikings. Since they’ve been beaten, on average, by 20 points per game on the road.

To halt the losing streak, Tampa Bay is going to have to halt Peterson and Harvin and find a few ways around some of the other obstacles on the Vikings roster.

It may be counter intuitive to have the third-ranked rushing defense in the league and then formulate a game plan that consists of focusing on the weakest area of the team, Tampa Bay’s 31st-ranked pass defense, but that’s exactly what has to happen Thursday.

The Buccaneers are giving up a stingy 76 rushing yards per game on defense and have allowed just one runner—the Washington Redskins’ Alfred Morris—to eclipse the 100-yard mark.

In Minnesota, the run defense will have to face one of the top running backs in the league over the last six seasons in Adrian Peterson, who’s also the fourth-ranked running back in the league this year with 652 yards on cheap nfl jerseys wholesale.

Over the last four games, Peterson has averaged 5.4 yards per carry and has gone over 100 yards in a game twice. While the biggest area of strength for Tampa Bay is its run defense, it may be necessary to throw more weight towards stopping the run on Thursday just so Peterson can’t win the game for the Vikings.

Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder has to be cheap nfl jerseys. If the Buccaneers can contain Peterson and force Ponder’s hand, there’s a good chance they can pull off the upset on the road.

After starting the season turnover free through the air in his first four games, Ponder’s thrown six interceptions over the last three contests, two in each game. While he’s maintained a 65 percent completion rate over those last three games, he’s made many mistakes.

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