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Bold prediction of the week: Jared Goff has record day vs. Bucs secondary

Can the Lions quarterback take advantage of a struggling Buccaneers pass defense?

Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Last week, Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions proclaimed Jared Goff is good enough for Detroit. They had every reason to do so, as Goff produced one of his best games as a Lion en route to the team’s narrow home playoff victory.

Goff stepped up on the largest stage, in the franchise’s biggest game in three decades. If he had any butterflies, they’re out of the way, and the Lions now face a team they match up with even better than last week.

Bold prediction of the week: Jared Goff passes for season-high 354+ passing yards against Bucs

When these teams met up in Week 6 of the regular season, the Bucs had largely been carried by a defense prone to forcing turnovers. What the Lions needed out of Jared Goff was a clean, safe game, and he gave them that and then some. Goff delivered his highest single-game passing total of the season, with 353 yards through the air.

In the time since, the Bucs defense’s luck has run out with forcing turnovers, and they’ve relied much more heavily against the offense. As Jeremy pointed out in this week’s On Paper preview, most of the favorability for the Bucs’ passing defense came from early in the season—they haven’t been good as of late.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles is known to be blitz-heavy, which was a mixed bag with Goff throughout the season. However, Goff finished the season very sharp against the blitz, and continued that into the playoffs. Against the Rams, who similarly had to compensate for a lacking secondary via the blitz, Goff finished the game 22-of-27 for 277 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs didn’t find much success in blitzing Goff in Week 6, either—specifically against the blitz, Goff went 10-of-19 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Bowles will have to find new ways to put pressure on Goff if he wants to slow down the Lions quarterback. But with Goff playing as sharp as he is, at home, with a healthier unit than he had in Week 6, it’s hard to see him slowing down. The Lions will be with Jahmyr Gibbs and Jonah Jackson on offense this time, as well as David Montgomery, who left midway through the Bucs game with a ribs injury.

It’s no gimme that Goff comes even close to his season-high threshold, though. Goff has surpassed 300 passing yards just five times this season, and only once in the Lions’ last seven games. Often when he does, it’s via chunk plays, like his long touchdown to Jameson Williams the last time these two teams matched up that put Goff over the 300-yard mark.

He’ll have to find ways to uncork deep shots again this time to get there. If recent trends are any indication, though, Goff should have plenty of opportunities.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.