Even though the Bucs were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, Bruce Arizona’s says that the team still has a lot to play for. “The fact that we are now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs is not going to change anything. We’re going to come, we’re going to work. We’re going to try to win four in a row, five in a row, and then six in a row.”
The Bucs, winners of 4/5 are 4-3 on the road this season and will be looking for their fourth consecutive win against a banged up Detroit Lions team.
The Bucs will be without their All-Pro wide receiver and best offensive player Mike Evans as he will miss the game with a hamstring injury.
That should mean another opportunity for receivers Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson, along with tight ends OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate.
The other big news on the injury front with Tampa Bay concerns quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston suffered a fractured thumb in the first half of the win over the Colts and despite the fracture, Winston still managed to throw for 467 yards and four touchdown passes. Arians said today that Winston is good to go and will be the starter for the game against the Lions.
Tackle Donavan Smith who was also injured in the game against the Colts, will be a game time decision according to Arians as to wether he can go or not.
The Bucs maintain their number one run defense in the league as their are giving up just 75 yards a game.
Due to some good offensive performances the past few weeks, the Buccaneer passing offense is now second in the league, averaging 298 yards a game.
The Lions pass defense ranks 29th in the league giving up 277 yards a game. This will be one of the matchups to watch in the game, the Bucs pass offense vs. the Lions pass defense.
The Lions come into the game with a five game losing streak and are coming off a road loss in Minnesota to the Vikings 20-7.
The Lions are down to their third string quarterback David Blough after injuries forced starter Matt Stafford to the sidelines with a bad back, and back up Jeff Driskel was placed on the IR due to a hamstring injury.
Blough is completing 59% of his passes with three touchdowns and three interceptions and has developed some good chemistry with wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
The third year receiver is having a breakout season similar to what the fans in Tampa are seeing with Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Golladay leads the NFL with 10 Touchdown catches and shows no signs of slowing down.
Danny Amendola is the number two receiver right now for the Lions after receiver Marvin Jones was placed on IR earlier this week.
On defense, the Lions defensive line is anchored by Trey Flowers who leads the Lions with seven sacks and 15 quarterback pressures.
Overall the Lions defense has fallen into the bottom third in the league in overall defense this season after being in the top 10 last season.
Cornerback Darius Slay is a Pro Bowl corner who will get the nod in covering Bucs receiver Chris Godwin one on one. Slay has two interceptions for the Lions on the season and this will be an interesting matchup to watch.
The Fans are starting to get a little restless with Lions second year head coach Matt Patricia who has a 9-19-1 record in his second season with the Lions.
Patricia will not get fired on Black Monday, but must start turning the franchise around if he is to remain the Lions head coach.
The Bucs are favored by 3.5 points and should win this one fairly easily at Ford Field against the Lions.
Bucs win 35-17.