Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The eve of the biggest game this year

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Who else is nervous? The Buccaneers are playing the most important game of the season tomorrow against the Minnesota Vikings, and it may be hard to sleep.

Deep breathes everyone. By this time tomorrow, the Buccaneers could practically have a spot in the playoffs set in stone, or their hopes could evaporate in a flash. The Minnesota Vikings aren’t pushovers, and the ramifications of this game will reverberate throughout the rest of the season.

At seven and five, the Bucs are safe in the sixth playoff spot. Brutal losses like those against the Bears and the Rams could come back to bite Tampa if tomorrow goes poorly, but a win could make all the difference in the world.

With four games left, the Bucs are in a great position to end the season above .500, but where they end is dictated by tomorrow. Games against the Falcons and Lions should be easier matchups, but the Vikings are a different story.

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After starting the season one and five, the Vikings have stormed back and are now in playoff contention. With a win tomorrow, the Vikings could bounce the Bucs from the race.

In a game where one team has been hot recently, and the other has been cold, this is a scary matchup for the Buccaneers. Sure, Minnesota relies on their running back, and Tampa Bay has the best run defense in the league, but this still feels like a trap game. The Buccaneers are the favorites, but this could come down to the wire.

Opposing teams and quarterbacks have a way of playing their best game of the season against the Buccaneers, so expect a big day from Kirk Cousins. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are a dynamic receiver duo that could abuse any space the Buccaneer secondary provides, so the defense has hopefully prepared for this in great depth.

The Viking defense is not what it once was, but it could still spell problems if the play-calling or Tom Brady are below average.

In short, this game is nothing to write off. Tampa Bay needs to be ready for everything and end the narrative that they are not as good as they should be. The Bucs’ losses this season have generally come against good teams, but they will have to make a statement tomorrow if they want their playoff drought to end.

In the meantime, all we can do is breathe.

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