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Discussion: Which Buccaneers player poses the biggest threat to the Lions?

Who will the Lions need to keep a close eye on to avoid the “trap game” upset?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions start off their two-game road trip in Tampa Bay, where they will face the 3-1 Buccaneers. Like the Lions, the Bucs are leading their division with only one loss in hand.

The Bucs got out to a hot start defeating the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears in the first two weeks of the season. But once matched up against a playoff-caliber opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bucs showed almost no resistance. It’s hard to know who the Bucs are right now and whether they’re as good as their record shows, but the Lions would be wise not to underestimate them either way. With how the Lions’ coaching staff is wired, I don’t think that will be a problem.

The offense for the Bucs—led by Baker Mayfield at quarterback—has largely struggled to put points on the board all year, ranking 20th in points per game this season. It’s the defense (ranked sixth in DVOA) that has kept the team in a position to win games.

Today’s Question of the Day is...

Which player on the Bucs poses the biggest threat to the Lions on Sunday?

The Lions’ fourth-ranked offense (in DVOA) will have to keep an eye on Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. who is having a great start to his 2023 campaign. The fourth-year safety earned his first Pro Bowl appearance last year and was also recognized by his peers, ranking 75th on the NFL Top 100 players list.

Winfield Jr. is an elite run defender, ranking second among all safeties in run defense grade in 2022, and is currently fifth this year. He’s a versatile piece in head coach Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme that has played nickel in the past but was moved to more of a natural safety role in 2023. Despite the move, Winfield Jr.’s play has not declined one bit. In their last game, he accumulated nine total tackles, one sack, one pass deflection, and a forced fumble plus the recovery.

It’s no secret that the Buccaneers have been carried by their defense up until this point in the season. And with Winfield Jr. being the leader by example of that defensive unit, it will be interesting to see how the Lions account for him in their game plan.

Alright, your turn. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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