Who: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
When: Thursday, 10/25 at 8:20 PM
Where: Mall of America Field
TV: NFL Network
Radio: WFUS 103.5 FM/ WDAE 620 AM
Last Meeting: The Bucs met the Vikings in Week 2 last season and found themselves down 17-0 at halftime while on the road. But Tampa Bay stormed back and won 24-20. The running backs dominated the game with their performances. Tampa Bay's LeGarrette Blount rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns, and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson bulldozed his way to 120 yards and two scores.
Key Matchup on Offense:
LT Donald Penn vs. DE Jared Allen – These two like going up against one another and always seem to bring their best when the Bucs and Vikings collide. Last season, Allen almost broke the NFL single season sack record with 22.0 QB takedowns, and he already has 6.0 sacks in seven games this year. The Vikings have a top 10 pass defense so Josh Freeman's already going to have a tough time getting things going. He doesn't need things to be worse with Allen breathing down his neck all night. Penn needs to step up and have a good time game if the Bucs want a win in primetime.
Key Matchup on Defense:
Tampa Bay's linebackers vs. RB Adrian Peterson – There aren't many better in this business than Adrian Peterson, who has defied all logic by coming back early from a devasting knee injury he suffered at the end of last year. Peterson is still at the top of his game and has a habit of making defenses look foolish. But this isn't the same defense that he gashed last season. The Bucs have one of the NFL's best run defenses and lead the league in tackles for a loss. The linebackers will need to hit the holes quickly with force and make sure they wrap up Peterson quickly before he gets into the open field. Do that and the Bucs have a much better shot at winning.
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