Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#305 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 vs.
#306 Detroit Lions 47.5
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 1:00pm EST
Ford Field, Detroit
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#305 Tampa Bay
#306 Detroit
6-7
3-9-1
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29
22
29
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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: December 15, 2019, Ford Field, Detroit, MI, 1:00 PM ET

The streaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to add a fourth consecutive win to their resume on Sunday when heading on the road to take on the Detroit Lions. Despite an ugly run through the first eight games of the season, the Buccaneers have quietly won four of their last five outings, including a recent 38-35 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Lions haven’t been as fortunate without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford on the field. Their 20-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings was their sixth straight.

Injuries piling up for the Buccaneers

We’ve reached that point in the season where the wheels begin to fall off for most teams. The Buccaneers have been no exception with quarterback Jameis Winston listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lions, along with Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans (hamstring). It’s a bad time to be experiencing the injury bug after the Buccaneers have surprisingly put together three straight wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

Winston (thumb) was reportedly throwing tennis balls at practice on Thursday, which gives some hope he’ll be able to progress to throwing footballs by Sunday. He could probably use whatever he wants to carve up a Lions secondary allowing 276.5 passing yards per game. As the No. 2-ranked passing offense in football, this juicy match-up presents another opportunity for him to quell the trade rumors.

That’s the best chance the Buccaneers have to win with their own porous pass defense. Even David Blough could carve up Tampa Bay’s secondary. They have the second-worst pass and scoring defense in football.

Along with Evans and Winston appearing on the injury report, the Buccaneers could also be down linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and receiver Scotty Miller.

Update (12/13): Evans has been ruled out. Winston is listed as questionable, but is likely to play after finally throwing in Friday's practice. However, defensive lineman Beau Allen was ruled out after suffering an ankle injury in practice.

“[Jameis is] fine,” head coach Bruce Arians said following Friday’s practice. “He threw fine. Yeah, he's ready to go."

Blough Show continues in Detroit

Speaking of injuries, the Lions are now down to their third-string quarterback. David Blough will continue to stand in for the injured Stafford and Jeff Driskel on Sunday. Stafford is expected to be out another week with a hip and back injury. It would even be reasonable to expect Blough to stick around as the starter for the rest of the season with only three games left on the schedule. The Lions will also be without star wide receiver Marvin Jones, who was placed on the injured reserve with an ankle injury.

The Lions have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Why risk further injury with Stafford as opposed to the team seeing what they have in their younger quarterback. The Lions have been a mess offensively without Stafford on the field. Blough has already thrown three interceptions in his last two games combined as he continues to settle into life as a pro quarterback.

Yet, few could survive getting thrown into the fire late in the season like he’s doing right now. There is hope he can take advantage of a struggling Buccaneers secondary if he can manage to remain upright. The Buccaneers will be more likely to send the sack pressure up front to try and force the young quarterback into making a mistake.

Detroit’s defense isn’t exactly where coach Matt Patricia wants it to be, but he has helped in an obvious turnaround in taking them from the 24th-ranked defense to 13th so far this season. However, they’ll have their work cut out for them in trying to slow down the Buccaneers’ prolific offensive attack.

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The injuries on both sides are a bit concerning, but I’d be surprised if Winston doesn’t find his way in the starting lineup on Sunday. He doesn’t have many opportunities left to convince the front office he’s the right man for the starting quarterback job in Tampa Bay. His prolific passing numbers tells the team to sign him to an extension, but the constant turnovers are convincing them otherwise.

While the loss of Evans stings, it might also force Winston to utilize his tight ends more often. OJ Howard and Cameron Brate have both been underutilized this season, despite being versatile pieces capable of doing damage as receivers.

Don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers test the ground game early and often to protect Winston’s hand. But he’ll eventually return to being the gunslinger behind center with his attention fixated on Chris Godwin. There is little hope for the Lions on the road with their No. 3 quarterback and a struggling defensive backfield. I’m laying the points and taking the Buccaneers.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)

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After showing some life against the Chicago Bears, the Lions offense led by Blough was shut down by the Minnesota Vikings. The Buccaneers are nothing like the Vikings, particularly when quarterbacks are looking to pass against them.

Both teams rank in the bottom-half of the league in scoring defense. The Buccaneers have shown periodically throughout the season how prolific they can be on offense. They have the third-best scoring offense in the league with an average 29.1 points per game. The Lions lack the means of slowing that down. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (46)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.