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|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-6.5
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Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians had an entire Week 13 bye to figure out how to take advantage of the Vikings and their 27th ranked passing defense, so let’s assume they came up with something good.
Buccaneers -6.5 (-110)
|Vikings vs Buccaneers Information|
|What||Minnesota Vikings vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Where||Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL|
|When||Sunday, December 13, 2020; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
After a horrific 1-5 start to the season, a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13 has brought the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings back to .500 again, and now they bring that rising momentum down to Florida to see if they can use their Dalvin Cook fueled run game to outscore a Tampa team with a superior defense plus a GOAT under center.
The GOAT, of course, is Tampa Bay veteran QB Tom Brady, a topnotch leader who currently has thrown seven interceptions in the last four games, but regardless of those miscues, the 7-5 Buccaneers are putting almost 29 points per game and are in the middle of the NFC Wild Card conversation.
These two NFC cross-divisional franchises have met each a total of 55 other times, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning 22 of those games and the Minnesota Vikings winning 33 of the games.
With five of their last six games ending in victory – including over the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers – the Minnesota Vikings have basically saved their season that started a miserable 1-5.
Now Minnesota has four more games, and two of them are tough, including this Week 14 matchup with the Bucs and a Week 16 showdown with the New Orleans Saints, but with the Bears and Lions their opponents in the other two final games, the Vikings can still make a run for the playoffs.
Right now, they are team number seven of the seven NFC teams that would qualify for the playoffs right now, so they must win at least three of their last four to have a chance to survive, and beating these Bucs would set that stage perfectly.
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In Week 9, Brady threw 3 interceptions and in Weeks 12 and 13 he threw two picks in each game, and right now the GOAT who has thrown at most 14 interceptions in one season is at 11 and counting with four games to go.
The entire reason Brady was brought to Tampa was that their previous QB, Jameis Winston, was prone to throwing the ball to players wearing the wrong jersey, so for Brady to suffer from the same ailment is a frustrating situation for teammates and fans alike, and most certainly for Brady.
But give Brady a few minutes to get used to an entirely new system and an entirely new group of targets and the first new head coach he has had in years, and he should do just fine in the playoffs if his Bucs can get past just a few more teams.
Have a look at Vikings QB Kirk Cousins stats line and it is clear that the guy is effective under center for sure, with 246 completions this season for 3,073 yards and 26 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
The slow 1-5 start did not help his team much, but now that RB Dalvin Cook has returned, the pressure comes off Cousins’ shoulders to carry the team with the passing game, which is ranked 16th in the league right now.
Cousins best game of the season was in Week 9 against Detroit when he completed 13 passes for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns with no picks, earning a passer rating of 141.7, setting the bar high for what he is capable of in this final run towards the postseason.
After much off-the-field drama being associate with his name, WR Antonio Brown finally calmed the storm and found a home in Tampa with his old friend Tom Brady helping him get acclimated.
And in the last four games, Brown has fit right in, so far being targeted 29 times and catching 20 of those balls for 168 yards and 0 touchdowns, his longest being a 25-yarder.
The Buccaneers also have WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, plus a TE who can catch the ball in Rob Gronkowski and RB Ronald Jones, so Brown doesn’t have to carry the team, but a few more visits to the end zone would definitely help his newest team earn a spot in the upcoming playoffs.
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