Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Game preview
By Rob Leeds
While the Vikings have a great duo, the Buccaneers have the best wide receiver corps in the entire NFL. The Buccaneers have a dominant pair at the top in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and with Antonio Brown and Scotty Miller as the third and fourth guys, this unit has no equal.
The Buccaneers have a top-10 offensive line. That may be hard for the Donovan Smith haters to hear, but the line took some massive strides over their performance last season. Even with Smith’s slip-ups, Brady has been sacked less and pressured fewer times than Jameis Winston was in the previous season by a healthy margin, and he is far less mobile than the former starter.
The Bucs may still want to reevaluate left tackle during the offseason, but the O-line has been a strength of this roster, not a weakness.
The Buccaneers still have the best front seven in football. The defensive line has not dropped off, even with the loss of Vita Vea, and the linebackers are one of the best units in football.
Devin White still has some growing to do versus the pass, but this part of the defense has been remarkably consistent so far this season.
The play-calling is the one area where the Buccaneers are hopelessly outmatched in most games. This is across the staff and not confined to one area, and each coach has their own way of saving or ruining the day.
On the offensive side of the ball, Byron Leftwich has to be better. Rein in the first-down runs up the middle. Open the field up more with play-action and motion. Establish the pass early, and not the other way around. If the calls are similar to the past few weeks, this could be a long day.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bowles needs to play to the strengths of his corners. Get back into man coverage, press at the LOS, and leave safety help over the top for the guys who lack speed. Failing to do these things is setting the defensive backs up for failure.