By: Justin Pawlowski

I’m about to lay some unbelievable knowledge on you.  This knowledge could just make your computer self-destruct because of its awesomeness.

Below, you will come across my 3 keys to the Buccaneers beating the Vikings on Thursday night.  I’m so confident in these keys that if the Buccaneers achieve each of these goals, they will win. Enjoy.

Make Peterson Earn Every Yard: No one can be naive to think that the Vikings will be as stupid with Adrian Peterson as the Chiefs were with Jamaal Charles.  Peterson will get his carries.  It’s up to the Buccaneers defense to not allow him to break off long runs through gaping holes.  The Bucs run defense has been among one of the best units in the NFL this season.  If the Buccaneers prevent Peterson from busting off a long run and force Ponder to make key throws throughout the game, their chances of winning will go way up.

The Offensive Line Must Play Their Best Game of the Season: I know Davin Joseph is out, but the Buccaneers still have around $90 million invested on the left side of their offensive line. While the offensive line protected Freeman last week in the pass game, it was their inability to generate any push along the goal line that ultimately led to the Bucs demise.  The Vikings have a ferocious defensive line led by Jared Allen and Brian Robison that has been all over opposing quarterbacks.  The Bucs offensive line must protect Freeman this week, but must also finally help the Bucs offense control things on the ground.

Future Stars Need to Become Stars: Nationally televised games are the games where players can become pro bowlers.  The Buccaneers have had many defensive players deserving of more recognition in this early season.  The two rookies in Mark Barron and Lavonte David have been excellent, and while neither might be on their way to the Pro Bowl as rookies, this would be a great jump-start to their career.  Gerald McCoy has been more dominant than not this season, but has rarely been noticed on a national scale.  A dominant performance against Adrian Peterson could just pencil in his first pro bowl appearance.  On offense, this needs to be Josh Freeman’s night.  This will be the toughest pass defense he has faced since the Cowboys, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong and display the tools Bucs fans have witnessed for the past 10 quarters.

Listen to Justin Pawlowski during “Gary and The Commish” heard weekdays from 10a-2p on Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio 98.7 The Fan.

Follow The Commish on Twitter: @CommishOnline


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