Check and check — the Detroit Lions have both won the NFC North and won a playoff game. While that is enough by most standards for a successful season, the Lions actually have a great shot at winning a second postseason game and reaching the NFC Championship Game, something that would have sounded absolutely bizarre even 18 months ago.
Up next in the Divisional round are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who infamously won the NFC Central more recently than Detroit. The Bucs won a questionable NFC South to earn their fourth-straight playoff appearance and handily dispatched the Eagles on Monday night. All things considered, this is a great matchup for the Lions, but everyone must be on their A game in the playoffs.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lion needs to have a huge game this Sunday?
My answer: The Tampa defense ranks in the bottom 10 in yards allowed per game but top 10 in points allowed, which is an interesting combination. Likewise, the team allows the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game but the fourth-most passing yards, and that pattern stayed true against Philadelphia.
My x-factor is Jahmyr Gibbs, specifically out of the passing game. Unsurprisingly, the Bucs have a great red zone defense, so while they give up yards, it is hard to find the end zone. That is why a gamebreaker like Gibbs could be the difference here. Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Sam LaPorta will of course need to take advantage in the air as well, but look for the explosive rookie to play a big role on Sunday.