Lions-Buccaneers Preview: A Deep Dive Into Tampa Bay

Ronald Jones

Getty Ronald Jones runs in a touchdown.

The Detroit Lions are ready for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend at Ford Field, and prepared to see if they can slow what’s been a miserable and dreadful losing streak.

Interestingly enough, the Buccaneers have not had as many such worries lately. Winners of three games in a row, the Buccaneers have some overdue confidence and are a less miserable 6-7 by Detroit standards. Even though the team will be walking wounded, they still have enough talent to play the Lions tough and come away with a win.

What is there to know about the Buccaneers? Here’s a closer look at Tampa Bay as they get set to invade Detroit for the first time in a few years.

Buccaneers Player to Watch: Shaquil Barrett, LB

Considering the loss of Mike Evans, it would make sense to go with Godwin here, but this season, Barrett has been such an eye opener at linebacker for the team he’s been hard to miss. With 15 sacks, it’s obvious Barrett is one of the better rushers in the entire league this season which has been huge for Tampa Bay. The Lions have not protected the pocket well in recent weeks, and knowing this, Barrett could feast in this matchup. He’s been one of the best players in the league this season and close to unblockable. That’s bad news for the Lions, who will need to try and stop him if they want a chance to move the ball and win the game.

Buccaneers Key Personnel Group: Running Back

The Lions haven’t measured up in terms of stopping the run much of this season, and that could be tough news for this affair given what the Buccaneers are able to do up front. This year, their duo of Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones has combined to rush for 948 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a whole, the Buccaneers are good at running the football, and even have a quarterback that can get after it on the ground in Jameis Winston. This will be a big challenge for the Lions to stop a team that loves to pound the ball with authority.

Buccaneers Biggest Name Missing: Mike Evans, WR.

This is the type of loss that stings a team searching for some positive momentum late in a season. Evans has had a solid season for Tampa Bay and was already well over 1,000 yards when he was shut down with the injury this week reportedly for the final three games of the 2019 season. Safe to say the Buccaneers will miss him in a big way considering how elite he is and what he can do for the team at catching passes. Tampa Bay needs to hope for a big day from Godwin to make up for the loss of Evans.

Headset Heads Up

The last time these two sides met was the preseason of 2018, and that ended up being a major Detroit comeback on the road in one of Matt Patricia’s first games. While Dirk Koetter was coaching that game for Tampa Bay, their future coach was in the broadcast booth in the form of Bruce Arians. Now, Arians is coaching on the sideline and will have to match wits with Patricia. It is strange how the game of football works sometimes.

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