Here are my three key matchups on offense that could decide Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions:
1. Jeremy Trueblood against Cliff Avril
The entire offensive line will face a challenge on Sunday, but Trueblood specifically could have a rough game. Jeremy Trueblood has struggled as a pass protector for years on end, and Cliff Avril could give him a lot of problems.
When the Bucs and Lions last met James Lee held his own at right tackle, while Josh Freeman managed to elude pressure, scramble for yardage and throw the ball quickly to compensate for a leaky offensive line. There's a good chance he will have to do so again on Sunday, but he can only do so much. At some point, the offensive line will have to stop the pass rush, and Trueblood is the weakest member of that offensive line.
2. Kellen Winslow against whoever is covering him
Kellen Winslow will be very important on Sunday. He is one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, and the Detroit Lions really struggled to contain tight ends last year. There's little reason to think this has changed during the offseason. Last year, Winslow caught 4 passes for 46 yards and had one touchdown called back for offensive pass interference. I expect him to be a bigger part of the passing game on Sunday, and if he has a good game, the Bucs will be that much closer to winning.
3. Legarrette Blount against Stephen Tulloch
Stephen Tulloch is a hard-nosed run-stuffer, and Legarrette Blount is a big and dynamic running back. The Bucs will try to establish a ground game, and given the status of the Lions' run defense last season they should have some success. But Tulloch is the big new addition for the Detroit Lions, and Legarrette Blount will have to break and evade his tackles to make a real impact in this game.