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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions: Game Preview

Tampa Bay heads to Motown to face off against a beat up Lions squad.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are one win away from getting back to .500 on the season.
aKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s crazy to think that the Bucs (6-7) could be a .500 team with a win over the Lions (3-9-1).

This team was in a major hole just a month ago. Bruce Arians was in the middle of a four-game losing streak during a 3-7 campaign at the time, and there looked like there was no hope in sight.

But this team has found a way to win three straight games and now they have a great shot to win a fourth straight on the road this week in Motown.


  • All-time series record: Detroit holds a 31-26 advantage over the Bucs.
  • Playoff history: Tampa Bay won the lone playoff matchup, which was a 20-10 victory over the Lions back in 1997.
  • Longest win streak: The Lions won five in a row from 1994-1996.
  • Largest margin of victory: Detroit annihilated Tampa Bay, 38-7 in 1992.
  • 2019 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay has the third-best offense in the NFL (2nd pass, t24th run) and the 17th-best defense (31st pass, 1st run). The Lions have the 13th-best offense (7th pass, 19th run) and the 29th-best defense (30th pass, 23rd run).
NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians has his team on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

What To Watch For

  • Winston’s blindside: It’s going to be a big deal if Donovan Smith can’t go on Sunday.
  • The thumb: It will be interesting to see how Winston’s thumb affects his ability to throw the ball.
  • No Mike Evans: This is the first of three games in which Evans won’t be on the field. Will the passing attack take a step back without its best player?
  • Darius Slay vs. Chris Godwin: A top-tier cornerback vs. receiver matchup is always fun to watch.
  • Shaq attack on Sapp: Barrett is one sack away from tying Sapp’s single season record of 16.5 sacks. He could simultaneously tie and break the record this weekend.

Impact Players

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • QB Jameis Winston: He had a career day against the Colts, but will play through injury on Sunday. Will his thumb limit him as a passer?
  • WR Chris Godwin: It’s time for Godwin to step up and take over the WR1 role.
  • TE O.J. Howard: Will Evans’ injury create more opportunity for Howard?
  • DL Vita Vea: The Lions are going to try and run the ball, so Vea will need to control the line of scrimmage.
  • OLB Shaquil Barrett: Can he tie/break Warren Sapp’s single-season sack record this week?
  • CB Carlton Davis III: Kenny Golladay is one of the league’s best receivers and will need to be accounted for on every play. Enter Davis.
NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
The Bucs have to be aware of Kenny Golladay on every snap.
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions

  • QB David Blough: Will the young quarterback shake himself out of the current slump that he’s going through?
  • WR Kenny Golladay: This guy is a nightmare and the Bucs will need to account for him on every snap.
  • The offensive line: They’ll need one of their best performances of the year against Tampa Bay’s defensive front.
  • DL Damon Harrison: The interior of the offensive line will have its hands full with this guy.
  • DE Trey Flowers: He has a shot to notch a career-high in sacks this week. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen against the Bucs.
  • CB Darius Slay: Will he match up against Godwin?

Cool Stats

  • QB Jameis Winston has had a productive season, setting a new franchise record for passing yards with 4,115. He also stands tied for third in team history with his 26 touchdown passes this season. He needs three touchdowns to break his own franchise record of 28 passing touchdowns in a season.
  • Winston joined Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Dan Marino and Matthew Stafford as the only quarterbacks with at least 4,000 passing yards in three of their first five NFL seasons.
  • The Buccaneers have scored 378 this season, which currently stand as the fourth-most points scored in a single season in franchise history. They need 18 points to tie the most points in a single season in franchise history (396) and 19 points for the most points in a single season in franchise history (397).
  • Tampa Bay recorded 467 passing yards against Indianapolis. With 450 or more passing yards at Detroit, it would mark the first time in NFL history a team posted consecutive games with at least 450 passing yards.
  • The Buccaneers have totaled for 5,107 yards this season. The team needs 123 yards for 10th-most (5,229 in 2007), 215 yards for ninth-most (5,321 in 1984), 256 yards for eighth-most (5,362 in 2010), 347 yards for seventh-most (5,453 in 2003), 350 yards for sixth-most (5,456 in 2008) and 436 yards for fifth-most (5,542 in 2016) yards in a single season in team history.
*Stats provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department
NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Can the secondary lock down a pretty effective passing attack?
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game Outlook

The Bucs are dealing with some major injuries, but they should still be able to take care of business and get to .500.

They’re the more talented team and they have the better quarterback in Winston. Detroit’s coaching staff also hasn’t reached the point where it can scheme/game plan around major injuries in order to win games.

Obviously, you want the Bucs to win this one, but the biggest key here will be the long-term health of the players. You don’t want anyone else going down, especially with a major injury.

Tampa Bay comes away with another road win and hopefully stays healthy in the process of doing so.