The Buccaneers defenders were the stars of the week in their home and season opener against the Bears in Week 2 forcing 4 turnovers.
Unlike the Bucs, Week 2 was not kind to Minnesota, who had to start backup quarterback Case Keenum against one of the AFC’s premier teams in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Keys to the Game:
Sam Bradford has already been ruled out for this Sunday’s game. This means the Vikings are forced to start Case Keenum again. Bradford being out means the Buccaneers defense could be in for another big game. Last week Keenum managed to complete only 54% of his passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns.
The Bucs defense will be tasked with slowing down the NFL’s 3rd leading rusher and Florida State alum, Dalvin Cook. The Bucs did a fantastic job of holding Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to a combined 20 yards rushing last week.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay will face a Vikings defense that is one of the better defensive units in the league. One match-up to keep your eyes on is whether Vikings star cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, will be shadowing Bucs stud receiver, Mike Evans. Rhodes has already gone up against Antonio Brown and Michael Thomas this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how Evans performs.
The Bucs rushed for a combined 117 yards last week, but the Vikings rush defense is holding opponents to only 3 yards per carry. Minnesota hasn’t allowed a rush of longer than 11 yards this season. It’ll be important for the Bucs to come out and try to establish the run early.
While it’s already been announced that Case Keenum will be the starter, he doesn’t seem to pose much of a threat to the Bucs defense. The defense should be able to get to and rattle the quarterback despite Kwon Alexander being ruled out Sunday.
In the end this is going to be a defensive slugfest for both teams and therefore will be a low scoring affair. That being said, the Bucs win this one on a late field goal.