By Max Luckan
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All of a sudden, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves heading into Detroit with some confidence and a two-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay has been playing much better as of late, especially on offense. At 2-8, the Bucs aren’t likely to make the playoffs, although technically, they have not been eliminated from contention. Unfortunately for the Bucs, their schedule is not easy the rest of the season, and they would certainly have to win all of their remaining games. Next up is a visit to Detroit to take on the Lions, who are coming off a disappointing loss to the underperforming Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lions Season Record
The Lions currently hold a record of 6-4 and are in first place in the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers, who are usually in first place around this time of the season, are still without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and have been struggling as a result.
In Week 10, the Lions pulled off a narrow, two-point victory over the second-place Chicago Bears and also beat the Bears in Week 4. Furthermore, the Lions have key wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, putting them in prime position for a shot at the division title this season.
Lions on Offense
It is widely known that the Lions have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. In fact, the Lions are on the same level as the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the prime target for quarterback Matthew Stafford on offense. This combination has resulted in an average of 414.3 yards per game this season for the Lions, which is good for fourth in the NFL.
On the ground, the Lions have Reggie Bush, who is one of the most explosive players in the game. However, the Lions have struggled, averaging only 103.7 yards per game on the ground. Bush has been more effective in the passing game, and the Bucs will have to keep their linebackers on Bush the entire game.
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On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have struggled. Currently, the team is ranked 25th in the NFL in total defense, allowing an average of 378.4 yards per game.
The secondary has been questionable at best for Detroit, as they have struggled to contain opposing receivers. However, starting free safety Louis Delmas has been struggling with injuries as of late.
The same goes for starting defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who has also battled injuries this season. Ansah has racked up three sacks, but hasn’t been nearly as effective as the team would like him to be. Linebacker DeAndre Levy is probably the team’s best player on defense. Levy already has five interceptions this season, which is something Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon will have to be wary of.
Lions Players to Watch
Calvin Johnson: Yes, Johnson is currently slowed by an injury, but he is still the league’s best receiver. Finally, Darrelle Revis will get his first real test of the season.
Reggie Bush: Bush is extremely versatile, so the Bucs will have to watch him closely. Expect linebacker Lavonte David to keep an eye on him.
DeAndre Levy: As mentioned, Levy is extremely dangerous in the passing game, and Glennon will have to make sure he doesn’t allow Levy to pick him off.
The Lions lead the all-time series between these two teams 29-26. These teams certainly have a history and can be seen as rivals. Bucs coach Greg Schiano will face Lions coach Jim Schwartz for the first time on Sunday.
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Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.