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 BuccaneersWe’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 DetroitSpeaking 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.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Buccaneers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 15.
- Buccaneers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
- Lions are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Lions are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
- Lions are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Lions are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss.