TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a touchdown catch over Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the season opener at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Here are my three key matchups on defense for the upcoming game.
Ronde Barber vs Donovan McNabb
Ronde Barber likes playing against McNabb. Over the years, Donovan McNabb hasn't played particularly poorly against the Bucs. Including playoffs, the former Philadelphia Eagle has completed 59% of his passes for 6.2 yards per attempt, and has thrown 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions.
Four of those interceptions came courtesy of Ronde Barber. The most famous one came in the 2002 NFC Championship game, when Barber's beautiful interception return for a touchdown clinched a Super Bowl berth for the Bucs.
McNabb looked terrible last year and last week. Hopefully, he can keep that up and give Ronde Barber the chance to better his Hall of Fame resume.
Mason Foster vs Adrian Peterson
Rookie linebacker Mason Foster didn't really get a chance to do much last week. He was off the field for most of the game as the Bucs faced a passing offense. With McNabb playing like my cat's morning leavings, the Bucs won't face that prospect this Sunday.
Foster will get plenty of opportunity to be on the field, and he will be key in getting Adrian Peterson on the ground. That's a lot easier said than done, and with just a quarter of a game worth of on-field experience he needs to grow up fast for the Bucs to stop the best running back in football.
Percy Harvin vs Tackling Fundamentals
If there's one thing this defense needs to improve on, it's tackling. Nate Burleson managed to make half the defense look like fools on one move, and the Bucs time and again allowed a short completion to turn into a first down because of poor tackling.
If this happens again, Percy Harvin is going to make this defense look horrible. While I'm not impressed with the Vikings receivers overall, Percy Harvin is a very dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands. And if the Vikings manage to get him the ball, the Bucs need to remember the lessons on tackling they learned a decade ago.