TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Maurice Morris #28 of the Detroit Lions breaks a tackle by Geno Hayes #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the season opener at Raymond James Stadium September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Everyone will talk about how the Bucs have to stop the Vikings running game, and that is important - to an extent. But Adrian Peterson is only a running back, and running backs haven't consistently won games since Barry Sanders was running circles around every linebacker in the league.
Last week was a perfect example. The Minnesota Vikings were beating the San Diego Chargers on the scoreboard. Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were destroying the Chargers every time they touched the ball, running for 6.1 and 8.0 yards per attempt respectively. Yet the Chargers still came out the victors, because the Vikings could not move the ball through the air. Except by kicking it.
McNabb, who used to be the bane of the Bucs in the playoffs, passed for a soul-destroying 39 yards in the entire game. If the Bucs can stop that passing game, they can easily win this game almost regardless of how good Adrian Peterson plays. That's just how the NFL works these days.
And the Bucs can certainly do that. They don't have much range in pass coverage at safety, but that won't be a problem against a group of receivers highlighted by a slot receiver/running back hybrid in Percy Harvin. Their other main receiver? Michael Jenkins. Those are no names to strike fear into my heart.
If the Bucs can just play some solid defense, they should come out of here with a win. Even if they're facing the best running back in football. So if you see that running back running through gaping holes on Sunday don't despair - you can do that if you see McNabb dissecting the secondary.