The Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are feeling great about the starts to their respective seasons. Both teams sit atop their division with just one loss through the first month of the year, and both have a signature win or two—making believers out of their fanbase.
And while the Lions may have a little more proof on concept—having won 12 of their last 15 games—the Buccaneers are doing some good things, too. So to get a better understanding of whether this Buccaneers team is for real or not, we had a chat with a writer from the opposing side.
This week’s guest on our First Byte preview podcast is Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, and boy does he know his stuff. Reynolds not only brought great information about the Buccaneers, but he knew his stuff about the Lions, too.
“The Lions defense, Alim McNeill, those linebackers—they’re big,” Reynolds said while explaining what could give the Buccaneers offense some trouble. “Jack Campbell, (Alex) Anzalone, they’ve got some size. (Derrick) Barnes. They’re some big linebackers. This is a big, physical front-seven that size-wise resembles the Eagles. I think the Eagles probably have more talent with all those first-rounders they have, but it’s a similar brick wall, hard-nosed, physical type of defense that’s going to test the physicality of the offensive line and tight end.
That’s an Eagles defensive front that held the Bucs rushing attack to just 41 yards and Baker Mayfield to just 5.8 yards per attempt and a 73.1 passer rating.
That said, this is a Bucs offense that is influenced by the Seattle Seahawks—a team who has had the Lions defense’s number the past two years. Mayfield is a quarterback that loves to get out of the pocket and make plays on the run. But Reynolds points out that Aidan Hutchinson could be a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to stopping Mayfield.
“Baker Mayfield, we’ve seen him do little shovel passes and as he’s getting sacked he’s really good at eluding sacks—and being a little bit of a Houdini—but he’ll do a little sidearm, flick to the running back or tight end. Those are the kind of passes Aidan Hutchinson is picking off,” Reynolds said. “And also, the Bucs like to do a lot of rollout. Baker’s a right-handed, right? Play-action, rolls out to the right? Uh-uh. You’re running right into Aidan Hutchinson.”
Here’s a recap of all the topics we discussed and timestamps to jump to those conversations:
- Are the Buccaneers true contender? (3:15)
- Baker Mayfield’s resurgence (6:10)
- Buccaneers’ overall philosophy on offense (10:00)
- Will Mike Evans play this week? (13:30)
- How have the Bucs managed offensive success despite being one-dimensional? (17:15)
- How Aidan Hutchinson could dominate on Sunday (21:30)
- Is the Bucs run defense as bad as the stats suggest? (25:00)
- How Tampa is creating so many turnovers (30:00)
- Vita Vea (34:20)
- Bucs really the second-best pass defense? (39:00)
- How good Jared Goff has been (43:00)
- PREDICTIONS! (45:20)