The 9-5 Buccaneers travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Saturday at 1pm. The hapless Lions have already fired their head coach during the season, and with many of their coaches out for the game undergoing Covid-19 precautions; it is unclear who will be making the calls on the Detroit sideline. The Bucs are coming off a big come-from-behind victory against the Falcons in Atlanta last weekend.
-Tampa WR Antonio Brown had a season-high 93 receiving yards and first TD catch of the season last week. Our own Leo Haggerty caught up with the mercurial wideout this week:
Leo Haggerty: “Since the last time you played in the NFL, has anything changed for wide receivers or is it business as usual?”
Antonio Brown: “It’s business as usual. The game hasn’t changed. Just the players that are in it. As a player, you got to take care of yourself. Put yourself in a lot of game scenarios. Have great people around you. Keep prepping and getting ready. That’s all I can say.”
-Bucs QB Tom Brady passed for 390 yards, and two TDs with no picks for 110.4 QB-rating last week. #12 now has 19 career games with 375+ pass yards and at least two TD passes. That’s third-most in NFL history. Brady also has 300+ passing yards in three of his past four games against the Lions.
-The NFL announced that Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 15. White earned the distinction for the second time this season, winning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 7. Against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15, White matched his career-high with 3.0 sacks, adding 12 tackles, three quarterback hits, and two passes defended. White is the only NFL player with multiple games with 3.0-or-more sacks and 10-or-more tackles since at least 2000. He is also the only player in team history to record double-digit tackles and 3.0-or-more sacks in a game.
Leo Haggerty, of ItsSportsMagazine.com got to talk again with Bucs coach Bruce Arians:
Leo Haggerty: “For most of the season, the start of games has been a house of horrors. Are teams doing something you don’t expect or are just all 11 players not seeing the same thing or is it simply execution?”
Bruce Arians: “It’s just flat execution. All 11 guys. If it was just one guy, we’d bench him, but it’s different guys at different times on different drives. Whether it’s the middle of the second quarter, and we’ve had some great second quarters, when everybody gets going, for me it’s just about winning. Yeah, I’d love to start faster, but as long as we win, I’m good.”
Leo Haggerty: “It’s hard enough to schedule practice on a normal week. Now you throw in Christmas. How hard is it to balance football and family over the holidays?”
Bruce Arians: “There is so much to do, especially as coaches, those of us that have older daughters. You ask, “Hey, can you get mom something and send it to me? Because I haven’t gotten her anything yet..” We talked to the guys about trying to get their shopping done early and having as much time with their families as we possibly can. I tried to schedule the schedules so we’re out of the building at least by 1 on Thursday and we don’t come back until 2:30 or 3 on Friday. At least 24 to 28 hours with their family on Christmas.”
-Lions QB Matthew Stafford passed for 252 yards and a 102.6 rating last week while aiming for his fourth game in a row with 100+ QB-rating. Stafford has 1,294 pass yards (323.5 per game) with 10 TDs and 7 INTs for 98.5 QB-rating in four career starts against the Bucs.
-Defensively for Detriot, DE Romeo Okwara has a career-high eight sacks this season while accumulating one in three of his past five home games.
-A relatively meaningless game for Detroit and a tune-up for Tampa will bring little surprise to this contest. The Bucs secondary can be alarming and often gives up the deep ball on blitz packages, but the Bucs offense keeps them in every game. I expect the Lions to score a few times, but the Bucs will roll the Lions today.
Some photos provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prediction: Bucs 38 – Lions 24