The Detroit Lions haven’t inspired much confidence with their play this season, and as they get set to take on Week 16 in a lost season, the game lines continue to reflect this sobering fact.
This week, as the Lions prepare for a battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they are forced to once again wear the title of underdogs. How big of underdogs? Perhaps not as wide a margin as in past weeks, but still a sizable one indeed. Detroit is between a 7.5 or 8 point underdog for the matchup as an early look at the lines show.
Obviously, it’s no shock to see the Lions not favored for this contest. Tampa Bay is one of the better teams in the NFL this season, and just completed a huge comeback to win in Week 15. The Lions, meanwhile, were steamrolled in their game against Tennessee, which should set up a situation where the Buccaneers are licking their chops for this matchup in Detroit.
With all this in mind, it doesn’t seem to be trending toward being a very happy holiday in Detroit, indeed. It’s more than likely that most fans are now focused on an offseason of what figures to be major change.
Lions-Buccaneers Series History
The Lions and Buccaneers used to be rivals from the old NFC Central division, but when everything was re-aligned and Detroit moved to the NFC North, they only play Tampa Bay once in a while now considering their status as an NFC South team. Historically, the series has been pretty even through the years. Perhaps surprisingly, the Lions lead the all-time series 31-28. Tampa has won two out of the last five games, including last year’s 38-17 drubbing late in the season in a game that didn’t matter much to either side. In terms of this season, the Lions will have to be the ones playing spoiler considering how the Buccaneers have been in the playoff picture most of the season to this point in time.
As mentioned above, the teams met late last year before Tom Brady joined the Buccaneers and the result was an ugly 38-17 loss. Detroit didn’t have plenty of big name players for that game given how rankled the team was by injury, but it was one of the uglier efforts in the now defunct Matt Patricia era for the team. Former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 458 yards and 4 touchdowns on the afternoon. Tampa also had a pair of wideouts go for over 100 yards receiving against Detroit, with both Chris Godwin (121 yards) and Breshad Perriman (113 yards, 3 touchdowns) roasting the Lions. Perriman isn’t around to do damage this time around after signing with the New York Jets, but the Buccaneers do have Brady to sling the ball to a talented cast of wideouts like Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown along with tight ends Cameron Brate and Rob Gronkowski.
It’s obviously clear that the Lions will be up against it once again when battling the Buccaneers in 2020.