Gameday Tampa BayOctober 25th, 2012
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m.
TV: NFL Network.
Radio: Buccaneers Radio Network (in Tampa WFUS-FM, 103.5 and WDAE-AM, 620); SiriusXM Channel 92.
Weather: Per AccuWeather.com, it is winter in the Northlands. While the Bucs will be playing the Vikings in a soulless dome, any Bucs fans tailgating will be treated to winter in October. Kickoff temperature is expected to be 37 and by the time the game is over, temperatures will be hovering just above freezing with a potential light dusting of snow.
Odds: Per Sportsbook.com, Bucs +6.5.
Outlook: The task at hand is simple: Stop Adrian Peterson. The job is difficult: Stop Adrian Peterson.
If the Bucs plan to win this game, the NFL’s top rush defense will have to find a way to suffocate Peterson. Do this, and the Bucs could win and the season is still alive. Don’t do this and the Bucs are standing at 2-5 and a postseason berth is slightly more realistic than Joe finding Rachel Watson on his leather couch looking for intimate consoling.
Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller, Quincy Black, Mason Foster and Lavonte David will have to be at their very best in this game.
Yeah, sure, the Bucs pass defense appears to be a bottomless pit of despair and Vikings quarterback, Samantha Steele-bedding Christian Ponder, isn’t a pushover. But given the two poisons to swallow, the Bucs would much rather have Ponder try to beat them as opposed to Peterson.
The Vikings have a solid defense. This isn’t the Chiefs or Saints, who appear to field defenses that might compete in the Big XII. If Donald Penn is having a rough night, that means Jared Allen is terrorizing Josh Freeman. If that happens, someone might want to run to the Mall of America and buy a bottle of anything 90-proof or higher because Freeman will certainly need it.
Fun facts: Here’s some cool stuff to chew on before kickoff, courtesy of the Bucs media relations department:
Buccaneers’ offense ranks: 5th in the NFL in total yards/play, 2nd in yards per pass, 9th in sacks allowed/pass play, 11th in points/game. Buccaneers’ 513 total net yards last week were the second-most in franchise history. Buccaneers’ 976 total net yards over the last two weeks are the most in a two-game stretch in franchise history.
QB Josh Freeman: Two of his five 300-yard passing games came in the past two weeks (two of his top three); has thrown for 1,047 yards in his past three games; has 11 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season; is 11th in the NFL with a 91.2 passer rating; 95-yard pass to Vincent Jackson last week was the longest play in franchise history; 420 passing yards last week were a career high and the third-most in franchise history.
RB Doug Martin: Has 253 total yards (161 rushing, 92 receiving) on 34 touches (29 rushes, 5 catches) over the last two games; averaging 5.6 yards on 29 carries over last two games.
WR Vincent Jackson: Set a franchise record last week with 216 receiving yards; sixth in the NFL with 586 receiving yards; fourth in the NFL, averaging 97.7 receiving yards per game; fourth in the NFL with five touchdown catches; third in the NFL, averaging 21.7 yards per catch.
WR Mike Williams: Fourth in the NFL, averaging 19.4 yards per catch; among wide receivers drafted in 2010 (includes D. Thomas, D. Bryant, G. Tate, A. Roberts, A. Brown, E. Decker, etc.), is first in receptions (149), receiving yards (2,103) and touchdown catches (14, tied with Bryant, note: Victor Cruz, who was undrafted, leads all third-year wide receivers in yards.
T Demar Dotson: Took over starting right tackle job from Jeremy Trueblood in Week 2. Since then, Buccaneers have given up only seven sacks, the third-lowest total in the NFL over that span. The ormer basketball player at Southern Miss, played one year of college football as a DT.
T Donald Penn: Mans left tackle spot for offensive line that has allowed only nine sacks this season, tied for fourth-best in the NFL; former Vikings practice squad player before Buccaneers signed him to active roster in 2006. Became Pro Bowler in 2010.
FB Erik Lorig: Drafted by Bucs in 2010 as defensive lineman. Converted to fullback; has seven catches for 51 yards this season after only seven for 63 in previous two seasons combined.
Bucs defense ranks: 3rd in the NFL rushing yards allowed per game, 1st in the NFL in yards allowed per rush, 15th in the NFL points per game allowed, 6th in the NFL in interceptions (9).
DT Roy Miller: Been stout in the middle of the league’s best rush defense (in terms of yards per carry); his 88 career tackles are the most among defensive tackles drafted in 2009, which includes B.J. Raji, Peria Jerry, Ziggy Hood, Sen’Derrick Marks, Terrance Knighton, etc.
MLB Mason Foster: Led rookies in tackles last year; has more tackles than any other defensive player selected in last year’s draft except Akeem Ayers (four more in one more game played).
OLB Lavonte David: Bucs lead NFL in forcing opponents into negative plays (52) and negative runs (28). David leads team with nine TFLs.