NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

Halftime thoughts: Buccaneers-Vikings

October, 25, 2012
10/25/12
10:06
PM ET
I saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers jump out to a 14-0 lead against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

I remember thinking, "This one’s far from over."

Well, the Bucs now have a 20-10 halftime lead on the Minnesota Vikings.

I think there’s a decent chance Tampa Bay’s lead is safe this time.

Why the difference? Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder is not Drew Brees. Not even close.

Aside from one nice touchdown pass to Percy Harvin on a fade route, Ponder has looked terrible. Give the Tampa Bay defense plenty of credit for that, but Ponder never will be confused with Brees. Plus, Tampa Bay’s run defense has done a decent job against Adrian Peterson.

Ronde Barber, who had a tremendous first half, forced a Peterson fumble by stripping the ball loose. Barber also forced another fumble earlier, but stripping the ball from a receiver. With this kind of deficit, the Vikings might not have enough time to try to let Peterson carry them back into the game. They may have to put it all on Ponder’s shoulders and that’s probably good news for the Bucs.

The flip side there is you may see the Bucs go heavily with their running game in the second half. They’ve had good success with it so far. Rookie running back Doug Martin is having what looks like a breakout game and his numbers could end up being huge.

I’ll be back with a wrap-up as soon as the game ends. If you’re not already participating, please join us in the Countdown Live chat in the second half.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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