Tuesday, September 13, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (Week 2, 2011-2012)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to take that next step toward the postseason. However, that becomes much less likely if they start their season 0-2. Can Donovan McNabb recover after possibly the worst game of his storied career?

The early spread on this game is Vikings (-3). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from covers.com as of September 13, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they'll unexpectedly change throughout the week.


#0: Last Picks Involving Teams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) over Detroit Lions (0 of 2)
San Diego Chargers over Minnesota Vikings (+9) (2 of 2)

#1: Injuries
Vikings' DT Kevin Williams is still serving a two-game suspension and will be inactive for this game. The Buccaneers also have a two-game suspension being served by S Tanard Jackson. DB Myron Lewis and DT Brian Price are also questionable for the Buccaneers. Basically, both teams are healthy.

#2: Adrian Peterson
The Buccaneers featured the 28th ranked rushing defense in 2010 as they surrendered almost 132 yards per game and a 4.7 per-attempt average. They did a good job with containing the Lions ground game as Jahvid Best had 21 carries for 72 yards. However, Adrian Peterson isn't Best. Adrian Peterson is best.

#3: LeGarrette Blount
The Detroit Lions basically had a 37-23 time-of-possession advantage over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Much of this was because the Buccaneers had abandoned the ground game. The Buccaneers had a run/pass ratio of 46/16 with five runs coming from quarterbacks. Blount only had five carries for 15 yards.

It'll be critical that the Buccaneers establish some sort of running game. Otherwise, you're relying on a tired Buccaneers defense to stop Peterson in the fourth quarter.

#4 Donovan McNabb
The Vikings acquired Donovan McNabb in hopes that he'd be a veteran quarterback that could keep the team competitive until Christian Ponder takes over. They couldn't be too impressed with his debut: 7/15 for 39 yards and an interception on his first throw.

#5: NFC North vs. NFC South
The NFC North went 3-0 against NFC South teams over Week 1. The Green Bay Packers beat the New Orleans Saints, the Chicago Bears dominated the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions had a road victory in Tampa Bay for the second consecutive season. The Packers also dominated the Falcons in last season's divisional playoff game.

The Saints barely escaped with a 14-9 victory in the NFL Kickoff Game against the Vikings last season.

#6: How Bad are the Minnesota Vikings?
The Vikings only lost 24-17 to the San Diego Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium. However, the Chargers had up towards 38 minutes of time of possession even after Peterson's good day. The Chargers had 21 more first downs than the Vikings and outgained them 407-187.

Final Predictions:
I'd avoid this game if possible. Both teams underused their ground games in Week 1. I'd expect that they'd correct that issue in Week 2, especially Minnesota. This should make it a low-scoring game. I like Joshua Freeman more than McNabb in a close game. However, I don't like the Buccaneers' ability to stop Peterson.


I'm going with the NFC North teams until the trend changes. They have home-field advantage and I like their defense against Tampa Bay more than Tampa Bay's defense against Peterson.

Against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Straight: Minnesota Vikings 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

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