The Bucs Stop Here

A forum for the hard core Minnesota Vikings fan. Discuss upcoming games, opponents, trades, draft or what ever is on the minds of Viking fans!

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 6827
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow
x 385

The Bucs Stop Here

Post by VikingLord » Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:25 pm

Just couldn't resist the pun as the thread topic...

Does that mean I'm predicting a Vikings win against Tampa Bay? Sorry, but I can't predict that in good faith.

What I can do though is lay out what I think the keys to a Vikings win this Sunday will look like.

To start, I hate Tom Brady. I respect him. He's been very good for a very long time and he's always seemed to get the upper hand against the Vikings, and it is that dominance over such a long period of time against the team I root for that makes me despise him. The "formula" for beating Brady has always been the same - just hit him. Get him uncomfortable and he makes unforced errors and isn't nearly as effective. The trouble with that strategy is that while Brady isn't all that mobile or good at escaping pressure, teams can rarely afford to sell out to pressure him because he's usually excellent at finding the open receiver when they do and he's extremely accurate as well. That coupled with a stout run game makes it very difficult for teams to generate the kind of consistent pressure on Brady that knocks him off his game, and unfortunately for the 2020 Vikings defense, they don't have the kind of pass rushers who will be able to do that without significant help from blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.

So the first key to a Vikings win against the Bucs is don't sell out to pressure Brady. It likely won't work, and even if they do manage to get to him a few times he's going to hurt them more than they get to him. Instead, play disciplined along the defensive line. Stay in rush lanes and contain Brady's possible escape routes. Don't let him get comfortable, but don't sell out to make him uncomfortable. The defensive line has to step up and have their best game of the year, because while they need to collapse the pocket when the Bucs pass, the real test is going to be limiting the Bucs run game. The Bucs haven't lit it up running this year, but for the Vikings to have a chance at consistently stopping Brady and the Bucs, they have to play run defense all game against the Bucs the way they played run defense in the second halves of the games against the Panthers and Jags. While Brady is one of the few QBs who isn't as affected by longer 3rd downs, he's still going to be less effective on average in those situations than if he faces shorter 3rd downs. So the key is play disciplined on defense. A lot of the outcome of this game is going to fall on how the Vikings defensive line plays.

The second key to a Vikings win on Sunday is how Kubiak decides to attack the Buc defense, because the strength of the Buc defense is their run defense. They're competent defending the pass, but they're really good against the run. And that is playing in their base defense. Unlike the Panthers and Jags who more or less sold out to stop the run, the Bucs can do it without compromising their pass defense for the most part. So if Kubiak thinks he's going to pound away against that defense with heavy doses of Cook, he should think again. I think he's likely to have as much success doing that as the Vikings had pounding Cook in Chicago when Hicks was in the game.

No, this is a game where Cousins is going to have to shine. That doesn't mean the Vikings don't run it, but Cousins is going to have to be on top of his game and ensure the Vikings move the ball. In recent history, this sort of setup for the Vikings offense hasn't boded well. If the run game isn't working, the pass game hasn't worked either, and we've seen the effects of that show up against much lesser defenses than the one the Vikings will face this Sunday. And while the primary burden of making the passing game effective falls on Cousins, in my view a close secondary burden falls on the offensive line's ability to pass block. In fact, I think this aspect of the game is where the outcome will be decided, because if the Bucs can get to Cousins like the Jags did, there is no way the Vikings offense scores enough points to win the game. If the Vikings OL, TEs and RBs can protect Cousins, however, I think there is not only a good chance the Vikings win the game, but even a good chance they win comfortably. I think the Vikings match up very well against the Bucs secondary, and if Cousins is protected I could see the Viking WRs having big days.

Third key to the game is this mishmash of special teams, untimely errors, and refs that have seemed to lurk in the background of this entire season and of which some combination seems to tar each game. I keep thinking it has to turn around at some point for the Vikings. At some point they revert to the mean and they stop handing the opposing defense easy points via turnovers, stop muffing field goals, PATs, and punts, and a few critical calls go their way instead of against them. So far, it's been slim pickings for positives in this area, so what better game and time to turn that around than to start the final quarter of the season?

I can see this one resembling the game against the Seahawks, which has resembled a lot of the Vikings games so far this year. I think the Vikings will be able to slow the Bucs offense, but not stop them. If the Vikings offense can stay on the field and keep things moving through the air, I think the Vikings win on a late 4th quarter drive ala what they managed against the Panthers. If the Vikings offense bogs down, however, and can't stay on the field, then I think the Bucs win by a comfortable margin.

Unfortunately, I'm not sold on the Vikings OL yet, and I think the Vikings will struggle to possess the ball and thus score. As a result, the game won't be close.

Bucs - 28, Vikings 7
2 x

User avatar
RandyMoss84
All Pro Elite Player
Posts: 1187
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:12 pm
x 404

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by RandyMoss84 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:16 pm

It would be nice to finally defeat Brady for the first time in franchise history before Brady retires
0 x

psjordan
All Pro Elite Player
Posts: 1662
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 8:01 am
x 64

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by psjordan » Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:18 pm

Nice writeup VL, but I think it's a lot more concise.

The Vikes need to be creative on offense. By that I don't mean razzle dazzle, I mean we CANNOT run the same set of plays we have used in the last six games. We need overall misdirection, we need misdirection toss sweeps, we need disguised screens, we need Cousins on a naked rollout run, etc. We don't need home runs as nice as they'd be, we need sustained drives with a bunch of 6/7/8 yard plays.

We need to get Cook in space way more often than pounding up the middle. There has to be SOME element of surprise in our offensive gameplan.

Unfortunately, I see very, very little chance our coaching staff is capable of such a thing. Most of those things would have to be in the playbook already, and I'd eat 100 donuts in one sitting if we've practiced anything close to the above list.

We need to keep the Bucs D on their heels and hang on to the ball to protect our D. As effective as getting to Brady in the pocket has been over the years, keeping him off the field is effective beyond the obvious - he gets frustrated sitting on the bench. Let his 40-yr old body cool down between drives and we are way better off.

Of course the above meshes with limited penalties and no turnovers, that's a given.

I really do not think our ST has ANY chance of being even average the rest of this season. There is too much to fix and it's woefully apparent our coaching staff can't do it in a week's time, much less the 12+ weeks they've had to date.

Overall I also see the L, but I 100% think we'll score more than 17 and I think we will be pretty competitive for 75% of the game.

But if we score a defensive TD, we win.
0 x

User avatar
soflavike
Hall of Famer
Posts: 9561
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 3:38 pm
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
x 10

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by soflavike » Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:56 pm

We need a healthy Eric Kendricks to contain their running game and disrupt the short passing game.
1 x
*********
A die-hard Vikings fan in South Florida

User avatar
S197
Fenrir
Posts: 12465
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Hawaii
x 549

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by S197 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:54 pm

First things first, we need to take care of the ball. Special teams via blocks and muffs have been killer. Cousins has had costly turnovers in the last 3 games. Even Cook's ball security hasn't been great (the fumble last game is attributed to Cousins but it was on him).

There's a lot of focus on Brady but I'm worried about Ronald Jones. I have a feeling TB takes a page out of Chicago's playbook and how successful they've been against the Vikings these past 2-3 years. Pickup 4 yards on the ground on 1st, then leave yourself with a lot of 3rd and shorts, with the added benefit of wearing down the defense. I think they'll also sell out to stop the run and the screen, force Cousins to beat them by pushing the ball downfield.

This will be a good test for the Vikings. Yet another game where they control their own destiny. I can't say I'm optimistic but if this team is really turning the corner, it should show this week.
0 x

Frozen Rope
Backup
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:27 am
x 53

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by Frozen Rope » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:46 pm

soflavike wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:56 pm
We need a healthy Eric Kendricks to contain their running game and disrupt the short passing game.
Anyone heard any updates on him?
0 x

User avatar
RandyMoss84
All Pro Elite Player
Posts: 1187
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:12 pm
x 404

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by RandyMoss84 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:37 pm

Frozen Rope wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:46 pm
soflavike wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:56 pm
We need a healthy Eric Kendricks to contain their running game and disrupt the short passing game.
Anyone heard any updates on him?
No update on him yet, I think we will see an update on Thursday or Friday if he will be available on Sunday
0 x

User avatar
J. Kapp 11
Hall of Famer
Posts: 8423
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:57 pm
x 1024

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:59 pm

So ... Brady. I don’t think you guys have been watching this year.

This isn’t the Tom Brady of yore. They have real issues in Tampa, and they start with Bruce Arians. This guy wants to go down the field, over and over, and then some more. He’s the guy who coined the phrase “no risk it, no biscuit,” which is maybe the dumbest saying in the history of the NFL. Brady and Arians are not seeing eye to eye, and it’s showing up in Brady’s play. Arians continues to send multiple guys downfield with slow-developing plays, and it’s not working against better teams. Brady doesn’t have the arm or the patience to go downfield. He has one of the lowest passer ratings in the NFL on the exact throws Arians wants him to make, and it’s not working. Hence a 7-5 record for a team that, on paper, should be contending for NFC supremacy.

Based on what Arians has done so far this year, the strategy should be to play cover 2 and keep everything in front of you. But if your corners are able to stay with TB’s wideouts, then bring the house because their plays take too long to develop. They almost never throw to their backs, which was a staple for Brady in his later New England years. Thus far, it has not been a good marriage, and you see evidence of it every time they lose, when Arians routinely throws Brady under the bus.

But here’s the kicker. Tampa is coming off its bye week, and they may have adjusted. Honestly, knowing how hard-headed Arians is, I doubt it. But you never know.

I’m not that worried about Ronald Jones because Arians rarely commits to the run.

In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not impressed with Bruce Arians. I’m pretty sure that Jameis Winston’s interception numbers were inflated last year because No Biscuit Arians kept calling plays down the field. To put it bluntly, I think Bruce Arians is pretty much an overrated idiot. Not a fan.

Tampa has talent on defense and a really good O-line. But if we can get an early lead, Arians will abandon the run, and Zimmer will have him where he wants him. If there’s one thing Mike Zimmer can do really well is take advantage of one-dimensional offenses.

And think about this. If the Vikings can pull off this upset, they’ll pass Tampa Bay for 6th in the playoff seedings. Who would have believed that six weeks ago?
0 x
Image
Go ahead. I dare you.
Underestimate this man.

User avatar
Raz
Starter
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:06 pm
x 19

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by Raz » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:12 pm

The game will be under the lights so to speak, joe buck and aikman on the call so I suppose a 3:35 start. All meaning that the game will still be going on right before the night games festivities start. All eyes on Kirk and company, good luck
0 x

User avatar
J. Kapp 11
Hall of Famer
Posts: 8423
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:57 pm
x 1024

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:14 pm

Raz wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:12 pm
The game will be under the lights so to speak, joe buck and aikman on the call so I suppose a 3:35 start. All meaning that the game will still be going on right before the night games festivities start. All eyes on Kirk and company, good luck
Actually it’s the early game. Noon central.

Don’t want you to tune in late and miss it!
0 x
Image
Go ahead. I dare you.
Underestimate this man.

User avatar
Raz
Starter
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:06 pm
x 19

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by Raz » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:17 pm

The game will be under the lights so to speak, joe buck and aikman on the call so I suppose a 3:35 start. All meaning that the game will still be going on right before the night games festivities start. All eyes on Kirk and company, good luck



My bad I presume with those two it would be the game of the week and be late
0 x

User avatar
J. Kapp 11
Hall of Famer
Posts: 8423
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:57 pm
x 1024

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:39 am

Well, it's official. We have no chance.

Mike Florio and Chris Simms have declared it on Pro Football Talk.

It was nice by it lasted.
0 x
Image
Go ahead. I dare you.
Underestimate this man.

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 6827
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow
x 385

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by VikingLord » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:36 am

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:59 pm
And think about this. If the Vikings can pull off this upset, they’ll pass Tampa Bay for 6th in the playoff seedings. Who would have believed that six weeks ago?
Yeah, that is nuts to think about. Six weeks ago I thought the Vikings would be in the running for a top 5 pick. Now they're in the running for the playoffs. In this case I'm glad I was wrong.

The issues you pointed out about the Bucs offense are good observations, but my main concern for this upcoming game is about the Vikings offense, and specifically, how ineffective the Vikings offense is when they can't run. We've see it against pretty much every opponent that has stymied the Vikings run game so far this season. When the Vikings can't run and the burden of moving the chains falls on Cousins and the pass, the offense bogs down. They don't just bog down - they pretty much grind to a halt.

Against some defenses, they've been able to adjust and find ways to back them off so they can untrack the run game and start moving again. I'm not convinced they'll be able to do that against Tampa though because the Bucs are good enough up front that I think they'll get consistent penetration and disruption against both the run and pass.

Thus my final score prediction. It's less based on the deficiencies of the Bucs and more on what we've seen from the Vikings offense against defenses that can keep the run game in check. If that produces the sort of lopsided TOP differentials we saw earlier in the season when the Vikings couldn't run and sustain drives, even the flawed Bucs offense with the poor scheme is going to get enough shots to run up the final margin.

I hope I'm wrong, but the burden in this game, at least in the early part of this game, is going to fall squarely on Gary Kubiak to come up with a way to keep Cousins vertical long enough for the passing game to be effective. Conversely, if the Vikings can run on the Bucs, the Vikings will win, probably comfortably. I just don't see how they will do that. The OL has to play its best game of the season in this one.
0 x

User avatar
J. Kapp 11
Hall of Famer
Posts: 8423
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:57 pm
x 1024

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:40 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:36 am
J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:59 pm
And think about this. If the Vikings can pull off this upset, they’ll pass Tampa Bay for 6th in the playoff seedings. Who would have believed that six weeks ago?
Yeah, that is nuts to think about. Six weeks ago I thought the Vikings would be in the running for a top 5 pick. Now they're in the running for the playoffs. In this case I'm glad I was wrong.

The issues you pointed out about the Bucs offense are good observations, but my main concern for this upcoming game is about the Vikings offense, and specifically, how ineffective the Vikings offense is when they can't run. We've see it against pretty much every opponent that has stymied the Vikings run game so far this season. When the Vikings can't run and the burden of moving the chains falls on Cousins and the pass, the offense bogs down. They don't just bog down - they pretty much grind to a halt.

Against some defenses, they've been able to adjust and find ways to back them off so they can untrack the run game and start moving again. I'm not convinced they'll be able to do that against Tampa though because the Bucs are good enough up front that I think they'll get consistent penetration and disruption against both the run and pass.

Thus my final score prediction. It's less based on the deficiencies of the Bucs and more on what we've seen from the Vikings offense against defenses that can keep the run game in check. If that produces the sort of lopsided TOP differentials we saw earlier in the season when the Vikings couldn't run and sustain drives, even the flawed Bucs offense with the poor scheme is going to get enough shots to run up the final margin.

I hope I'm wrong, but the burden in this game, at least in the early part of this game, is going to fall squarely on Gary Kubiak to come up with a way to keep Cousins vertical long enough for the passing game to be effective. Conversely, if the Vikings can run on the Bucs, the Vikings will win, probably comfortably. I just don't see how they will do that. The OL has to play its best game of the season in this one.
Yeah, it's gonna be tough sledding for the offense. TB has a lot of talent on defense, and for all I think about Arians, Todd Bowles can really coach that side of the ball. Tampa blitzes a lot, so we're going to have to be on our toes.

That said, Gary Kubiak has done a really good job overall during the past 10 weeks. And the Vikings have been really good in the second half of their past six games, especially on offense, so if they can keep it close going into halftime, they can make a game of it.

I also don't think the offense has been as you say — totally ineffective when the running game isn't working. Basically, the running game hasn't worked over the past three weeks, and it's been Cousins, Jefferson and others in the passing game that have gotten the Vikings back on track. That has forced the defenses to stop keying on Cook, and THEN he's gotten going. Cook has had 100+ yards in two of the past three games, but he's averaged less than 4 yards per carry and had about 30 yards in the first halves of those games. Still, the Vikings are averaging 400+ yards per game and scoring enough to win. I would go so far as to say that if the passing game hadn't bailed out the running game, the Vikings could have lost all three home games, and we'd certainly not be talking about the playoffs.

Tampa is the favorite, and that's warranted. I just don't see it as Mike Florio and Chris Simms put it on Pro Football Talk this morning. They give the Vikings no chance of even keeping the game close. They keep going back to the narratives of early in the season, when the Vikings couldn't stop anybody, and except for the Dallas game, that simply hasn't been the case anymore. The other thing is, there's simply no quit in this team. Even when they struggle, they find a way to climb out of the hole.

Bottom line: I get pretty defensive when somebody says the Vikings have no shot.
0 x
Image
Go ahead. I dare you.
Underestimate this man.

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 6827
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow
x 385

Re: The Bucs Stop Here

Post by VikingLord » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:58 pm

J. Kapp 11 wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:40 pm
Bottom line: I get pretty defensive when somebody says the Vikings have no shot.
It is quite frankly silly for anyone to discount the Vikings right now after their recent gritty performances and ability to claw their way back to .500 and into the playoff picture. That is even more true when considering Tampa's more recent struggles. The Bucs have serious flaws as well, perhaps in some ways flaws that are more fatal than those of the Vikings. As you noted, their coach seems pretty one-dimensional. Zimmer gets criticized for being rigid at times, but he's shown a willingness to adapt to the realities of his team's capabilities, especially this season. I agree with you that Arians has an idea about how his team needs to play and they're going to play that way, and if they're not winning, then they're not playing that way well enough. So that is a pretty fatal flaw, because that approach more or less starts to lose the players if the team isn't having success and the players feel their hands are tied.

One other thing about the Vikings generally - they can blow it spectacularly, true, but they can also rise to the occasion spectacularly and show off their considerable talent at times as well. The most recent example of that being their playoff win against the Saints in the playoffs last year where nobody gave them a chance either. The Saints were really good, playing at home, had it all lined up certainly better than the Bucs have things lined up, and most expected a blowout. And then the Vikings trot in there and 3 hours later the Saints' season ends. So the Vikings have it in them to perform well, certainly well enough to beat the Bucs on Sunday, and for anyone to seriously believe they have no chance, well, maybe those folks aren't as good at their jobs as one would expect of national sports commentators.

The Vikings have a very good shot at winning on Sunday, but they are going to have to show they have taken that next step in terms of consistency and in the play of their most questionable units to do it.
0 x