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Biggest cliche in all of football, right? But it consistently holds true.
The Buccaneers were thoroughly exposed against the Lions on both the offensive line and defensive line—neither steady during the entire game.
For the offensive line, the running lanes were rarely open, and the pass protection was subpar. The Vikings' front four are just as good, if not better than the Lions' defensive line, and they get home-field advantage with an extremely loud crowd to back them—making it more difficult for the Bucs' offensive line to hear cadences and the snap count.
The Chargers fought to run the football against the Vikings—continually grinding the ball throughout the close contest but to little avail. The Vikings held Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews to 24 carries for 80 yards. But the Chargers kept running.
Tampa Bay has to do the same. If the game's close and they happen to abandon the run, it could be a long one.
As for the defensive line, I blame bad luck. The front four played with violence and tenacity but were unable to sack quarterback Matthew Stafford once during the loss.
Minnesota's offensive line is good, but they're not what they used to be—allowing quarterback Donovan McNabb to get sacked twice and pressured a few more times. Gerald McCoy doesn't have to worry about the heat with an indoor stadium, and this may be his chance to finally break out.
As previously mentioned, there is no stopping Peterson, but the Bucs' defensive line has to play solid gap control and carry out their responsibilities to slow him down.