Buccaneers vs. Lions: Game Preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) may give its fanbase the last word Christmas current with a win over the Detroit Lions (5-9) on Saturday.

This has been stated advert nauseam, however it’s price repeating: If the Bucs win in Detroit, they’re playoff certain for the primary time for the reason that 2007 season.

So, will they do it?

  • All-time collection: The Lions lead, 31-28.
  • Longest win streak: Detroit gained 5 in a row from 1994-1996.
  • Largest margin of victory: Tampa Bay was crushed, 38-7, again in 1992.
  • 2020 offensive and defensive rankings: The Bucs at present boast the league’s 17th-best offense (6th passing, 29th dashing) and the sixth-best protection (25th passing, 6th dashing). The Lions are 19th in whole offense (9th passing, 30th dashing) and 30th in whole protection (27th passing, 30th dashing).

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions


Darrell Bevell and others is not going to be on the sidelines or within the sales space on Saturday.Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports activities

  • COVID-19 contingency plan: Each groups have been affected by the Coronavirus, however the Lions are definitely in worse form. The Bucs will likely be with out Ronald Jones II, however the Lions will likely be with out interim head coach/offensive coordinator and playcaller Darrell Bevell and 4 of their prime defensive assistants. Quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan will name the performs on offense whereas large receivers coach Robert Prince will function the interim head coach in Bevell’s stead. This definitely units up in Tampa Bay’s favor, however the unknown isn’t factor within the NFL.
  • Tampa Bay’s passing assault: This appears fundamental, however Tom Brady and co. ought to mild it up on Saturday. There are benefits available in any respect three ranges of the Lions protection. There isn’t a cross rush, there’s poor linebacker play, and there are questions throughout the secondary. It will be an enormous shock if the Bucs can’t get something performed by way of the air this week.
  • Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Tampa Bay’s secondary: I’d simply say, “vs. Carlton Davis III”, however we don’t know Davis’ standing proper now. If Davis doesn’t go, then it would doubtless be a mixture of Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Ross Cockrell on Jones. Dean performed effectively in his return final week, however SMB has been on the wrestle bus. However, somebody has to comprise Jones this week and will probably be crucial they accomplish that.
  • T.J. Hockenson: Tampa Bay nonetheless can’t defend tight ends for no matter cause. Whether or not or not it’s lapses in protection, athletic mismatches, or no matter, the large guys at all times appear to discover a method. Hayden Hurst was in a position to get into the top zone in Week 15 and Irv Smith Jr. made play after play in Week 14. Hockenson is contemporary off a Pro Bowl nod, so don’t be shocked if he makes some noise on Saturday.
  • The rise of Antoine Winfield Jr.: The rookie security has made performs all 12 months, however he’s made two essential performs in two weeks which have actually helped Tampa Bay win its video games. Rookies are normally hitting the “rookie wall” at this level, however AWjr appears to be on the rise. He’ll be wanted over these final two weeks, that’s for certain.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • QB Tom Brady: This week is strictly why the Bucs introduced in Brady. It’s time to safe a playoff berth.
  • RB Leonard Fournette: It’s his present for the second straight week. Detroit can’t cease the run, so it’s an enormous alternative for Fournette. Can he silence the doubters for at the least every week?
  • WR Antonio Brown: We noticed the Brady-Brown connection at its peak towards the Falcons and they need to hook up for a few large performs this week.
  • OLB Shaquil Barrett: The Lions could also be with out their beginning tackles, which can bode effectively for Barrett. He ought to be capable to enhance his sack whole throughout this sport.
  • MLB Devin White: How can he not be right here after final week’s efficiency? He has his points in protection, however general, White is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker who can blow up a play at any time limit.
  • CB Sean Murphy-Bunting: If Carlton Davis III doesn’t go, then SMB will likely be relied on to play exterior full-time. He has to play higher. Bruce Arians even spoke about it earlier within the week. SMB performed effectively in Detroit final 12 months, so hopefully he finds his groove this week.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Can Matthew Stafford pull one out towards the Bucs?Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports activities

  • QB Matthew Stafford: He most likely shouldn’t be taking part in on this sport, however nothing goes to maintain him from taking part in if he can. The Bucs need to be on level when defending arguably essentially the most underrated quarterback within the NFL.
  • WR Marvin Jones Jr.: Positive, Kenny Golladay is out, however that doesn’t imply the Lions don’t have weapons within the receiving corps. Jones Jr. is a good possibility and the Bucs must be certain he doesn’t get free.
  • TE T.J. Hockenson: For no matter cause, Tampa Bay hasn’t found out easy methods to defend tight ends over the past two years. Hockenson is an enormous, athletic tight finish and he’s a mismatch for any workforce within the NFL. He’ll be a focus of the offense this week.
  • DE Romeo Okwara: It’s actually laborious to seek out brights spots on the Lions protection, however Okwara is one. He has 8.0 sacks on the 12 months, so the Bucs have to be sure that he stays away from Brady as a lot as potential.
  • OLB Jamie Collins: The veteran linebacker didn’t follow all week, however he’s listed as questionable so there’s an opportunity he may play. It’s an enormous deal whether or not he’s on or off the sector.
  • CB Mike Ford: He is probably not a headline-grabber, however Ford at present has the most effective protection grade on the workforce and it’s not even shut.

The primary state of affairs can also be the obvious one: If the Bucs win, then they’re within the playoffs.

However Tampa Bay can nonetheless get in even when they lose. If the Bucs someway handle to blow this sport then they’ll nonetheless get into the postseason if the Bears lose to the Jaguars. Whereas that’s not going, something is feasible with Mitchell Trubisky on the helm.

Tampa Bay now not has a shot on the division title since New Orleans beat Minneosta on Friday night, however the Bucs can nonetheless enhance their playoff seeding. If the Bucs win this weekend and the Seahawks lose/Rams win, then the Bucs would bounce to the No. 5 seed based mostly off frequent opponent tiebreaker with the Seahawks. Week 17’s tiebreaker (if the Hawks lose) will both come all the way down to the convention document tiebreaker or frequent opponents.

If the Rams lose (and the Bucs win, after all), then the Bucs would bounce to the No. 5 seed simply based mostly off the higher document. The Rams could be 9-6 at that time whereas the Bucs could be 10-5. Tampa Bay would simply have to keep away from shedding to Atlanta in Week 17 and it will lock up the fifth playoff spot.

Due to this fact, the video games you actually wish to play consideration to are the Bears-Jags and the Rams-Seahawks. These two video games can have the best influence on the Bucs’ playoff run pending the results of the Bucs-Lions matchup.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Tom Brady was introduced in to assist the Bucs get to the postseason and now they’re only one win away from getting there.Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports activities

Can you are feeling it, people? The Bucs are actually on the verge of formally making the playoffs.

Tampa Bay hasn’t managed its future like this in a decade. The Bucs don’t want any exterior assist to get into the large dance. They only have to win. The final time this state of affairs existed at this level within the season was yep, you guessed it — the notorious 2010 matchup towards the Detroit Lions.


However these are clearly two totally different groups and the Lions are at present able that’s by no means occurred in NFL historical past. It’s one factor to be down a ton of gamers coming right into a sport, however to be all the way down to your interim-interim head coach and lacking prime teaching assistants is definitely new territory.

I wouldn’t count on a scare like we noticed in Atlanta final week. I believe this workforce is aware of what’s at stake and it is aware of the chance at hand. Mix that with Brady on the helm and it’s virtually just like the Bucs can’t fail.

Get able to get together. The Bucs will likely be 10-5 and playoff-bound after this sport.

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