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5 Q’s with Bucs Nation: Tampa is ‘really close’ to being a playoff contender

Getting to know the bad guys.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ John Lynch breaks up a pass Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP via Getty Images

I’m so glad we got through that season, Lions fans. It was rough, and sometimes it was downright hell. But we stuck together and persevered. Now we can enjoy our winter and summer with no heartbreak. See you guys on the other side. Make sure you stay tuned to Pride of Detroit for all your Lions news and opinions. Goodbye.

I’m sorry, what? Three more games? I don’t know if I can take this, Jeremy. The check is in the mail? Well then.

Sorry about that. Turns out there’s three more weeks of this god awful season. We here at Pride Of Detroit aren’t ones to be miserable alone, though. So we invited our friend David Harrison of Bucs Nation to cry with us and give us info on what should be the most exciting game on the this weekend’s slate of games. The Lions vs. the Bucs. Here’s what David had to say.

How big of a hit does the Bucs offense take without Mike Evans?

“The Buccaneers haven’t had to play a game without Mike Evans since Week 10 of the 2017 NFL Season when he was suspended for one game following his encounter with Marshon Lattimore the week prior. In that game, they faced a Josh McCown led New York Jets squad and won 15-10. Then rookie, Chris Godwin came through with five catches for 68-yards in the win. That’s a really long way to say, the Bucs offense certainly isn’t as good without Evans, but the presence of guys like Godwin gives them more than enough firepower to put points on the board and pressure on the opposing defense.”

This team is strange to me. They have offense for days, but their defense is one of the worst in the league. How close is this team to being playoff contenders?

“The team is really close. They are experiencing big peaks and valleys right now, so the goal eventually has to be leveling things out a bit. Despite being one of the worst teams in turnover margin (-10), they’ve only lost the turnover battle five times through thirteen games. That illustrates just how bad they are when they do commit turnovers, but the fact they’ve won or earned a draw in eight games shows how they can do when the offense and defense are playing well off each other.

Another interesting thing about a defense which, as you said, is considered one of the worst in the league, is that they are holding opposing offenses to just a 34% third-down conversion rate while forcing 171 third down attempts (8th most). The offense is 13th in the league in converting third downs with a 41% rate themselves and have faced 178 while averaging 22.8 first downs per game (4th best).

So why has this team lost seven games up to this point? (Pause to build anticipation) Turnovers! (Pause for shocked amazement).

If the Bucs found a way to cut their turnovers by even five over the entirety of the season, it would go a long way to improving the results for a team that is relatively good at staying on the field when they don’t turn it over, and getting off the field when opposing offenses get on.”

What under-the-radar Buc should Lions fans be worried about?

Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman have each had seasons that could easily be described as disappointing. However, in Week 14 when Mike Evans went out, they both stepped up for their team and combined for eight catches and 129-yards. Everyone expects Chris Godwin to get plenty of attention against the Lions. But don’t be surprised to see Perriman and Watson combine for at least ten targets this weekend.”

Wrestlemania is coming to town in April. Are you going? Can I have your ticket? Are you annoyed by the pirate theme yet?

“I don’t watch wrestling. So, I asked my WWE watching counterpart, Bailey Adams, for his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say:

“I am headed to WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium in April. It’s my first one. As far as my ticket, I’ll think about letting you have it if Brock Lesnar/Cain Velasquez is announced as the main event. I won’t let you have it, but I’d think about it. And I actually really love the pirate theme. Being a Tampa native, I think the theme really fits with not only the stadium but the city’s history as a whole.” – Bailey Adams”

Who’s winning this thing?

“You can imagine how hard it is to predict winners and scores covering a team like the Buccaneers. So, three weeks ago, I started using ‘creatively’ organized math equations to pick winners and final scores. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you view it, the Bucs have won three straight. Since we’re all superstitious, I’m now compelled to keep this up until Tampa Bay loses, despite my predictions.

So, here we go. The Detroit Lions are averaging 13.5 points with David Blough under quarterback, and we’ll round that up to 14 because nobody can score half a point. Since entering the league in 2014, Mike Evans has missed just three games. In those, the Bucs average 20 points.

The Lions’ score math is more realistic obviously but if my calculations are correct, and they have been for the last three weeks (predicting winners anyway), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will defeat the Detroit Lions, 20-14.”

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