Detroit Lions (6-6; 5-6-1 ATS; 9-3 O/U) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8; 3-8-1 ATS; 7-5 O/U)
The Detroit Lions will look to snap a two game skid when they head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers in an NFC battle Sunday afternoon from Raymond James Stadium. The Lions are coming off a rough 44-20 road loss to the Ravens, and the Buccaneers lost 27-20 in overtime to the Packers last week. These teams last met in 2014 in a game the Lions won by a 34-17 score.
Stafford Injured in Lions Rough Loss to Ravens
The Detroit Lions dug themselves another early hole in their rough 44-20 road loss to the Ravens last week. Matthew Stafford did not get going until the second half and finished with 292 passing yards with one TD and one INT. The 29-year old quarterback is not to blame for the Lions recent struggles and has now accumulated 3302 passing yards with a 22:7 TD to INT ratio. Stafford injured his hand in the loss, however, he is practicing this week and should be good to go. However, he likely will not be at 100%. Rookie running back Tion Green was a bright spot in the loss, rushing for 51 yards on 11 carries in his NFL debut. Lions starting running back Ameer Abdullah sat out last week and should be good to go for this one. Lions’ leading receiver Marvin Jones Jr. had another big game in the losing cause last week, making four catches for 90 yards. The 27-year old wide receiver has tallied at least 85 receiving yards in three straight games, and a total of 821 yards on the year. The Lions offense has repeatedly struggled to get going until the second half which adds pressure to a struggling Lions defense.
The Lions defense was terrible in the loss in Baltimore last week as the struggling Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards with two TD’s. They also failed to make any big plays or sacks, and own the 27th ranked pass defense in the NFL. Detroit has lost two straight, and their playoff hopes are fading fast as they are two games out of a Wildcard spot.
Buccaneers Fall to Packers in Winston’s Return
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not hold a slim fourth-quarter lead in their tough 27-20 overtime road loss to the Packers last week. Jameis Winston made his return from a three game absence and was decent, throwing for 270 yards with two touchdowns against zero interceptions. The 23-year old quarterback has only led the Bucs to two victories this season and has notched 2190 passing yards with a 12:6 TD to INT ratio in nine games. Peyton Barber was a bright spot in the loss last week, recording 102 rushing yards on 23 carries. The second-year running back has seen very limited action this season and has accrued 190 rushing yards on the season. Bucs’ leading receiver Mike Evans was quiet last week, making only two grabs for 33 yards. The 24-year old wide receiver is having a strong season, amassing 735 receiving yards on the season, however, he could fail to reach 1000 yards receiving for the first time in his career. The Buccaneers offense has been wildly inconsistent this season, but will have a chance for a big game against a struggling Lions defense this week.
The Tampa Bay defense played well in the loss to Green Bay last week, holding them to 276 total yards. They do own a very weak pass defense but were able to shut down Brett Hundley. It has been a disappointing season for the Bucs as they sit in last place in the NFC South.
The Detroit Lions are:
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 road games against a team with a losing home record.
- 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 games in December.
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after recording more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are:
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing less than 150 passing yards in their previous game.
I am taking the Buccaneers in this matchup. Matt Stafford is questionable for this contest with a badly bruised hand, and even if he does play he likely will be playing through soreness, so I would not feel confident in the Lions. Furthermore, the Lions defense is in shambles as they are allowing an average of 30.5 points in their last four games, and they struggled to contain a low-scoring Ravens team last week. James Winston and the Bucs’ fifth-ranked passing game should have their way in the air. The Lions secondary is floundering, and they are now allowing an average of 267 passing yards per game, ranking them 27th in the NFL. Go with the Buccaneers at home in this one.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Lions should move the ball in the air against the Buccaneers weak secondary, and Winston should have a solid afternoon against the Lions poor pass defense. The Buccaneers 31st ranked pass defense will give up yards in the air, and the over is 4-0 in the Lions last four road games. In addition, the Lions defense is also struggling, allowing 24 or more points in four straight games, plus the over is 5-0 in the Lions last five games overall.