2-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 5-2 Minnesota Vikings
Thursday, Oct. 25, 8:20 ET on the NFL Network


For the Buccaneers to win they will need to make Adrian Peterson earn every yard. Don’t expect the Vikings to foolishly take the ball out of his hands like the Chiefs did with Jamaal Charles, so it will be up to the Bucs defense, which has been stellar against the run, to maintain gap integrity and keep Peterson from breaking off any long runs. Tampa Bay’s offensive line must play better too. While their OL protected QB Josh Freeman well last week it was their inability to generate any push along the goal line that ultimately did them in. Minnesota has an excellent defensive line led by Jared Allen and Brian Robison that has been all over opposing quarterbacks; Tampa Bay’s OL must not only protect Freeman tonight, but must also step up and help the Bucs offense control things on the ground as well.


Minnesota’s Tampa-2 defense is designed to avoid giving up the big pass play, while the Bucs offense is based on making big pass plays. Tampa Bay needs to mix things up and get Doug Martin going; he’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry the past two games while Minnesota has given up 309 yards on the ground the last two weeks. Tampa Bay would be wise to run the ball rather than waiting for a receiver to go deep when Jared Allen is lining up on the other side of the ball.


I still firmly believe that playing on Thursday night is a huge disadvantage for the road team. Losing the bulk of a day to travel is disproportionately larger when you have only three days to prepare rather than six days to get ready for the next game. It’s no coincidence that home teams have won ten of the last thirteen Thursday night games, are 5-1 this year, and going back through the 2010 season have won all but five Thursday night games. For Tampa Bay this is compounded by the fact that they are coming off an emotional loss to their biggest division rival four days ago.


The Bucs lost their best player when Adrian Clayborn went on IR in week four; they could really use him tonight. Christian Ponder had two bad turnovers against Arizona but the Bucs defense is not remotely close to being as good as the Cardinals’ D. Ponder should have plenty more time tonight than he did last week to find Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph, and CB Aqib Talib being unavailable due to his being suspended does not help the Tampa Bay pass defense any either.


Prediction: Minnesota 24, Tampa Bay 14

Four Units on Minnesota -5 and One Unit on the total Under 43

– final score: Buccaneers 36, Vikings 17






This Day In Patriots History

October 25, 2009:
The Patriots cruise to a 35-7 win over Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium in London. Tom Brady threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns, Wes Welker had ten receptions for 107 yards, and the Pats defense came up with three interceptions and three sacks.

The Pats started things off just 2:34 into the game when Brandon Meriweather stepped in front of Sammie Stroughter on a short slant, picked off Josh Johnson‘s throw and ran untouched into the end zone. Brady then hit Randy Moss for a 37-yard pass and then Welker scored on a 14-yard screen pass to make the score 14-0 with 2:16 remaining in the 1st quarter.

After Brady was picked off in the end zone on a pass to Moss he came back on the next series with a short throw to Sam Aiken who juked Bucs’ LB Barrett Ruud and went untouched down the sideline for a 54-yard score. The Pats also scored on a 35-yard reception by Ben Watson and a one-yard run by Laurence Maroney. Brandon Meriweather had two interceptions on the day and Darius Butler also had a pick (though he was also beat on Tampa Bay’s only score, a 33-yard pass from Johnson to Antonio Bryant). Mike Wright, Patrick Chung and Derrick Burgess were each credited with a sack in this game.


October 25, 1998:
No touchdowns were scored in this defensive battle – a bit of a surprise considering the quarterbacks were Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe – as the Dolphins edged the Patriots 12-9 at Pro Player Stadium. Olindo Mare kicked four field goals for Miami, including the game winner from 43 yards out 10:42 into overtime.

The Patriots picked off three Marino passes but he came through in the clutch. First he moved the Dolphins 52 yards in the final two minutes of regulation to set up Mare’s game-tying 25 yard field goal, and then guided the Dolphins to the game-winner, as the Pats never had the ball on offense on overtime.

After Miami got the kickoff in OT a pass-interference penalty on Ty Law on third-and-10 allowed Miami to keep possession deep in its own territory, and Marino completions of 25 to O.J. McDuffie and 10 yards to Oronde Gadsen set up Mare’s game-winner. Mare also connected from 48 and 38 yards.

For the Patriots Adam Vinatieri kicked field goals of 41, 30 and 36 yards. Ty Law, Willie Clay and Larry Whigham each had an interception off Marino while Chad Eaton, Henry Thomas and Brandon Mitchell had one sack a piece on the Dolphins’ quarterback. Shawn Jefferson was the Pats offensive star of the day with four receptions for 116 yards; Bledsoe threw for 240 yards but completed just 13 of his 33 passes. The Dolphins held New England to just 26 yards rushing and ended Robert Edwards‘ scoring streak: he was the first NFL rookie to rush for at least one touchdown in each of his first six games. The Patriots had won their four previous games against Miami and fell to second place with a 4-3 record, one game behind the Dolphins.


October 25, 1992:
The Cleveland Browns score twice in the 4th quarter to come from behind and defeat the Patriots 19-17 at Foxboro Stadium. Hugh Millen threw two touchdown passes, a 19-yarder to Kevin Turner and a 22-yarder to Ben Coates but Mike Tomczak‘s 6-yard TD pass to Scott Galbraith with 31 seconds remaining was the game-winner, dropping the Pats to 0-7. The score was set up when Browns LB Mike Johnson sacked Millen and Cleveland recovered their 4th fumble of the day, this one deep in Patriots territory.

The Pats finished 2-14 and Dick McPherson was fired at the end of the ’92 season, to be replaced by Bill Parcells.


October 25, 1987:
The Patriots face former head coach Ron Meyer since they fired him after the 1984 season and Meyer’s Colts broke a six-game losing streak to the Pats. Stanley Morgan has seven receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown but the Patriots lost to the Colts 30-16 at the Hoosier Dome. Jack Trudeau passed for 239 yards and a TD for his first win in 13 starts substituting for injured Indy QB Gary Hogeboom.

Dean Biasucci‘s third field goal put the Colts up 16-6 in the third quarter. Three plays later Duane Bickett sacked Tony Eason and Donnell Thompson picked up the fumble, returning it 28 yards for a TD to put the Colts up 23-6.

The Patriots scored on the next drive on a 27-yard TD pass from Eason to Morgan. After forcing a punt the Pats got the ball back and drove into Colts territory but fumbled the ball away at the Indy 28. The Pats forced another punt but had to settle for a 49-yard Tony Franklin field goal after an offensive pass interference penalty halted that drive.

Once again the Pats got the ball back but could not move the ball. Rich Camarillo‘s punt was blocked by replacement player Terry Wright; that set up the final score of the game, a 12-yard run by Alfred Bentley with 3:25 to go. Another replacement player, Mike Prior, ended the Pats’ final drive by intercepting Eason and returning the ball 38 yards with just 1:40 remaining.

The Patriots finished the season with an 8-7 record, missing the playoffs by one game.


October 25, 1981:
Despite statistically dominating this game the Patriots lose 24-22 to Washington at RFK Stadium. The Pats outgained the Redskins 409 yards to 230 but Washington forced New England to settle for field goals, got a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown, and the Pats turned the ball over three times in the loss.

With 51 seconds to play on a third and 20 from the Redskins 36 Stanley Morgan was called for offensive pass interference on Redskins cornerback Lamar Parish. Washington declined the penalty and John Smith attempted a 51-yarder that fell short.

For the Patriots Steve Grogan threw for 306 yards but also had two picks; Tony Collins ran for 103 yards and a TD on 22 carries; Don Hasselbeck had five receptions for 112 yards and Harold Jackson had four catches for 83 yards.

From this game on the two teams headed in opposite directions. First year Washington head coach Joe Gibbs got his second NFL victory and the hot seat he was on got a bit cooler; Washington went on to win four in a row and narrowly miss the playoffs rather than fall to 1-7, and they built on that second half surge to win the Super Bowl the following year. The Patriots were coming off a 28-point victory over Houston but would not win another game that year; this would be the first of what turned out to be nine consecutive losses as they finished a league-worst 2-14. At the end of the season Ron Erhardt (who referred to the team as the best 2-14 team ever) was fired and was replaced by Ron Meyer.


October 25, 1970:
Ron Sellers has five receptions for 101 yards but Johnny Unitas throws three touchdown passes and no interceptions while Joe Kapp does the opposite (no TD’s and three picks) and the Patriots lose to the Baltimore Colts, who would go on to win the Super Bowl that season.






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October 25, 1964:
The Rolling Stones make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. After a riot broke out in the studio Sullivan said that ‘I promise you they’ll never be back on our show again’; due to the band’s popularity he reconsidered and the Stones went on to make five more appearances on Sullivan’s top-rated show between 1965 and 1969.







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