Everyone has predictions, here are ours:
Chris Czar: Lions fans are cautiously optimistic about the 2011 season and they should have a good clue where the team stand after week one. The Bucs are another “up and coming” team but might not be as good as their 2010 record (10-6) suggests, just as the lions were better than their 6-10 record last season. This game could go either way as it features a matchup of two young, highly talented quarterbacks. Just a hunch, beacause of their more explosive weapons on offense, the Lions will win a shootout. Lions 38, Bucs 34
Mike Olsen: This season opening clash features two teams vying for the title of “the next big thing”, as well as the respect of their NFL counterparts. The emotion of this game should lead into a back-and-forth battle, with Tampa finding success in the running game, and the Lions hitting stride with the short passing game. In the end, the “bend but don’t break” Tampa defense will fracture, allowing Detroit to steal another close victory. Detroit 30, Tampa Bay 24
Marty Medvedik: The Lions beat the Buc’s last year in their back yard when the Bucs were fighting for their playoff lives. The Lions have only gotten better. Matt Stafford will be the difference this time around. Lions 28, Bucs 17
Nate VanNorwick: Tampa remembers the Lions keeping them out of the playoffs last year. They remember the blown call in the end zone costing them a touchdown – for which the NFL supposedly apologized. And they remember Dominic Raiola’s comments after the game lat year – “Are they still in the playoffs? Are they getting ready, making vacation plans now, like us? I hope so.” But most importantly, they remember that if you throw the ball quickly against a suspect secondary you can avoid defensive line pressure. Bucs win 27-24.
Ronny Hurd: Key of this game for the Lions is attacking on offense since the Buccaneers do have a few questions on defense. At left defensive end they have Michael Bennett, who had a terrific camp and preseason, but the question is can he show that same intensity he had in camp and preseason in the first regular season against the Lions. Another issue is the youth of the defense. They replaced the veteran leader of the defense in Barrett Ruud for rookie Mason Foster, and also plugged in rookie Adrian Clayborn on the right end. You can expect there to be some growing pains and adjustments of the Buccaneers defense against the Lions offense with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew. Lions 31, Buccaneers 17
Scott Bischoff: The Lions face a very young defensive front when they go on the road to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Look for the Matt Stafford to use the hurry up offense to keep that young defensive line off balance and tired. The Lions will use the passing game to move the ball with short quick passes and a few long throws to Calvin Johnson. Jahvid Best could score a touchdown via a pass in this game.
On defense the Lions must contain LeGarrette Blount and Tampa’s ground game. It is important to put Josh Freeman in passing situations which will allow the Lions defensive line to get after him. Also, Freeman’s ability to extend plays could be a problem and he needs to be accounted for.
This game has the potential to be scoring and the Lions offense needs to be at its best in this game. The Lions defense can be dominant and will need to play well for them to have a chance. Detroit Lions 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
Zac Snyder: I have a lot of respect for the Buccaneers as a football team but the Lions are an improved team compared to last year’s squad that went on the road and beat the Bucs. Can the Lions win? Yes. Should the Lions win? maybe. I have confidence in this team because they can get the job done in all phases of the game. Will they let me down? I say no. Lions win 31-20