The Detroit Lions can’t afford to slip up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they are to keep their playoff push going. It looks like it will take ten or more wins to secure at least a Wild Card berth and a win over the Bucs puts the Lions just one win from that mark while giving them a solid shot at 11 win.
The Bucs making a late-season trip to Ford Field brings back bad memories of the 2013 season in which a home loss to the Bucs was part of the Lions’ unraveling. Will the Lions avoid a repeat? Here is what the SideLion Report staff sees for the game ahead.
Kent Platte – After blowing out the Bears on national TV, the Detroit Lions offense under Joe Lombardi seemed to finally click. My bets are that they continue to gel, especially with the potential return of Reggie Bush, Riley Reiff, and Larry Warford. Can the Lions pull another blow out against a team they should easily beat? The Bucs defense is tough, but their offense is a dumpster fire. Lions win in a route, 31-9, Bucs never sniff the end zone.
Braden Shackelford – The Bucs are a talented team, but haven’t quite grasped the new schemes on both sides of the ball. Factor that and the inconsistent QB play paired with late game coaching blunders and it’s tough to see them beating the Lions this week. Prediction: Lions win 27-13
Max DeMara – The Lions are better than the Buccaneers in several key areas, so the turning points in this one will be Detroit’s focus and turnovers. It’s hard to imagine Matthew Stafford having a worse day than he did last year, and the offense could be primed to break out after flexing a bit against the Bears. The Lions have a better day than most expect, and do what they should have done last year by blowing out Tampa Bay at home. Detroit 37, Tampa Bay 14
Alex Reno – I don’t expect this to be a close contest. The Lions are better in every phase of the game with the exception of special teams. The Lions’ defensive line is going to manhandle the struggling Bucs o-line, and Stafford should be able to pick apart Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense. The Lions should win by a hundred, but three touchdowns will be enough. Final score, Lions 31, Bucs 10.
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Darin Ackerman – Will the Lions pass this litmus test match-up against the Bucs and prove they’re a true playoff caliber team? Last year, Tampa shocked the Lions, 24-21, at Ford Field, but this time they’re too overmatched on both sides of the ball. Standout Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy will test inconsistent line play, but the Lions are getting healthy at the right time and the offense is clicking. Detroit will have no trouble stopping the run, so if they can contain Mike Evans on defense and continue to spread the ball around on offense, they should sail to victory. Lions 27, Bucs 17
Zac Snyder – The offense cured some ills a week ago against the Bears and while they can’t count on playing a poor opponent every week, they get another one in the Bucs. The offense could be even better than on Thanksgiving Day thanks to the expected return of Larry Warford and Riley Reiff and the defense has proven that they can remain one of the league’s best without Nick Fairley. The Bucs caught the Lions off guard a year ago but this is a better Lions team (Kris Durham isn’t around to fumble without being touched). Lions win, 24-10.