Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Date and Time: Friday, August 24, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
Opening NFL Odds: Buccaneers -3, 45
Lions vs. Buccaneers TV Coverage: CBS
I’m willing to put a nice chunk of change down that says Detroit’s offense doesn’t rank out amongst the worst in the league come season’s end. That however is the case right now with the unit ranked No. 30 in scoring and No. 27 overall. You best take that with a grain of salt. Matthew Stafford has thrown a grand total of five passes, and his favorite target, Golden Tate, hasn’t taken a single snap. The offense will be fine.
What has been a bit bothersome however is the overall play of the defense. Patricia came over from New England this past offseason, and was hired as the team’s head coach to improve the defense. While he isn’t playing with many of his own players, the results are annoying nonetheless. The defense gave up 20 second half points last week to up its preseason average to 23.0 points allowed per game. It has however been better against the pass which bodes well in this one against a Bucs offense ranked No. 1 flinging the pigskin around the gridiron.
The Buccaneers played in a barnburner that went down to the wire Week 1 against the in-state rival Dolphins. They outgained Miami 399-393 and won the turnover battle 2-1, but the talk of the town was how readily able Tampa Bay was at spreading the ball around. When it was said and done, a total of 47 passes were thrown and 37 completed for a whopping 326 yards. That’s mighty impressive for a preseason game!
The fun didn’t stop there however. Last week, Tampa Bay went into Tennessee and toyed with the Titans en route to scoring the 30-14 upset win on the NFL odds as field goal underdogs. Again, it was the passing attack that stole the show with Jameis Winston throwing for 226 yards and a couple touchdowns while the backups combined for another 152 yards and completed half of their 26 passes. There looks to be some quarterback and receiving talent in south Florida this season!
Player to Watch
Ryan Griffin – Once Winston was suspended for the first three games of the regular season, it was more or less common knowledge that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick would lead the offense into battle to open the season. However, the career backup out of Tulane is currently in the midst of his best preseason showing ever, and because of it, is making a push towards being the QB1 at the outset of the year.
Though most of his stats have been accrued against 2-4 stringers, he’s shined the brightest of all the backups in throwing for 267 yards and a 2:0 TD/INT ratio while logging a 108.7 QB Rating. It would behoove Koetter to give him some PT against the Lions starting defense. If he passes the test, maybe a change would be in order?
Lions vs. Buccaneers Free Picks
Tough game to call in both club’s dress rehearsal. The Bucs are flying high right now winners of two in a row, and they’re looking to keep that momentum moving forward into the regular season. On the other side of the coin, we’ve got a Lions team that’s been thoroughly outplayed for its new coach who is yet to taste the thrill of victory at the NFL level while calling the shots.
With that, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and look for the Lions to get over the hump in this their third crack at a triumph. Tampa Bay is likely the worst team in the NFC South due to it being one of the nastier divisions in all of professional football. While the team is saying all the right things and catching many breaks, there’s still some major holes in their overall game. Desperate with plenty to prove, I expect the Lions to put their best foot forward and take advantage.
NFL ATS Pick: Lions +3 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Lions 28 – Buccaneers 24