Your playoff game-winning Detroit Lions are set to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs this weekend at Ford Field after the Bucs pummeled the Eagles by a score of 32-9 on Monday night. This will be the second time these teams matched up this season after the Lions beat the Bucs 20-6 in Week 6.
Question of the day: How are you feeling about facing the Bucs compared to Week 6?
Entering Week 6, the Bucs were an over-performing team led by their stout, turnover-forcing defense. It was imperative that Jared Goff play a clean game and the Lions offense keep the ball out of harm’s way. They did just that, en route to a win.
I foresee this matchup being quite different. The Bucs offense has come a long way and may be even better than their defense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has settled into Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales’ scheme well as the season has progressed, with Monday night being the Bucs’ fourth game with 29 or more points since December.
The Lions may have to open up the playbook and be more aggressive offensively than they were in October. Lucky for them, they’ll have the personnel to do so. The Lions were without several key players when these teams faced off in October, notably Jahmyr Gibbs and Jonah Jackson on offense, and Brian Branch on defense. Several other players were banged up, including Sam LaPorta, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Taylor Decker.
My answer: I still think the Lions are the better team, and playing with home-field advantage will be huge. I’m more confident than I was in Week 6, but I also think the Bucs, like the Lions, are a much better team than they were in the fall. I think this will be a way different game than we saw back then, with a lot more aggression and scoring from start to finish.
Ultimately I like the Lions in this one, but by a much slimmer margin than October’s result or the Vegas oddsmakers’ predictions (Lions are -6 as of writing this).
How are you feeling about facing the Bucs compared to Week 6? Will the outcome be different? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.