Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Date and Time: Sunday, December 10, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Opening NFL Odds: Check Back Later
Lions vs. Buccaneers TV Coverage: FOX
Matthew Stafford has been the face of the Lions ever since they went through their hideous 0-16 season. He's gritted through a lot of tough times, and he's finally gotten Detroit to the playoffs.
Now, we have to wonder if he's ready to get shut down for the rest of the season.
At 6-6, Detroit isn't technically out of it, but the likelihood of beating the Buccaneers, Bears, Bengals and Packers to end the regular season feels slim, especially after losses to the Vikings and Ravens.
Stafford hurt his hand last week, and though little was said about it after the game in Baltimore, the bandage he had on tells the tale of a man who may have broken something. With both Dwayne Washington and Ameer Abdullah facing nagging injuries as well, it might be time to just pack it in for the year and make sure Stafford doesn't do any major damage to his hand.
The Buccaneers should perhaps heed that advice as well. In fairness, Winston didn't look like he had anything wrong with him in a 26-20 loss at Green Bay in Week 13. He was mostly sharp in the pocket, guided this offense to nearly 400 yards of offense and probably should have won the game.
Yet it was Winston's sack that he took when he held onto the ball far too long that caused Tampa Bay to lose that game, a microcosm of the issues that have been coming up all season long.
Betting Trends of Note
If we're being honest, the Buccaneers haven't played that bad of a schedule considering the fact that they're in a terror of a division. They have four wins this year: Bears, Giants, Jets and Dolphins, and just the last of those games came on the road.
Tampa Bay hasn't won a game outside of the state of Florida in a calendar year, and it hasn't won a game against a team that is going to finish anywhere near .500 this year.
Go back to last season, and you'll see the same sort of trend. The Buccaneers' best wins came against the Chiefs and Seahawks in successive weeks around Thanksgiving. Take those two wins away, though, and they went from Week 2 through Week 17 without a single win against a team with a winning record.
The Lions may or may not ultimately fit in that category this year, but the Bucs have lost seven in a row dating back to last year against teams with .500 or better records.
Lions vs. Buccaneers Free Picks
If Stafford happened to not be able to go, it would be Jake Rudock who is called upon. Rudock is out of Iowa, and he ran the exact same offense that C.J. Beathard did under Kirk Ferentz.
With a week to prepare for this game, Jim Bob Cooter could come up with a great game plan to protect his quarterback. That could mean a lot of Theo Riddick out of the backfield and Golden Tate on short, underneath passing routes.
The Buccaneers aren't easy to dink and dunk on with all of the raw speed they have on the defensive side of the ball. That said, they're playing with virtually no confidence right now, and the fact that they're up against a really good team gives us pause for concern.
Especially if the top online sportsbooks are asking Tampa Bay to lay points, we'll ride with the Lions.
NFL ATS Pick: Play the Visiting Lions at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Lions 23, Buccaneers 20