Scouting Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

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This week the Buccaneers have a bit of a shorter week than usual. This week, the team will fly up to the Motor City to face off against the Detroit Lions. If the Buccaneers can come out of this game with a win they will officially make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Unfortunately for the Lions faithful, their team is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

What’s scarier than playing against a team with nothing left to lose? We’ll find out as we dive into this weeks matchup.

Here’s How The Lions Measure Up

Before the Lions faced off against Tennessee last week they were designating several players as OUT for the week:

  • Kenny Golladay WR (Hip)
  • Frank Ragnow OL (Throat)
  • Tyrell Crosby OL (Ankle)
  • Daryl Roberts CB (Hip)
  • Da’Shawn Hand DL (Ankle)

Lions star receiver, Kenny Golladay, has played in only four games this season and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be returning this week either.

If the offense wasn’t already reeling, they are going to be without some depth on the offensive line this week. In addition, Adrian Peterson might not be 100% which makes their run by committee approach a little less than ideal. The Buccaneers defense will need to take advantage.

Offensive Rankings

  • Rush Yards/Gm 30th (92.6) / Pass Yards/Gm 7th (264.5)
  • Rush Touchdowns/Gm 13th (1.1) / Pass Touchdowns/Gm 15th (1.7)
  • % of Rush Plays Called 27th (37.20%) / % of Pass Plays Called 6th (62.80%)

When looking at the Lions this year, the surprising stat is how well they have played offensively. Despite their losing record, the Lions have scored less than 20 points in a game only once. Much of that can be contributed to the gritty play of 12th year quarterback Matthew Stafford. With 3,774 yards on the season and a 23/9 touchdown to Interception ratio, Stafford is carrying this team as best he can.

Despite being without his best receiver for most of the year, Stafford has received help elsewhere. Second year tight end T.J Hockenson and perennially under appreciated receiver Marvin Jones have really stepped up.

Jones is in the top 30 for receivers in both receptions (65) and receiving yards (779). He is also averaging 12 yards per reception.

Hockenson currently ranks as the 4th best tight end in football in receptions (60) and 3rd in receiving yards (675).

In regards to the run game, the Lions drafted themselves a gem in D’Andre Swift. Learning from one of the best in the game in Peterson is just bonus for Swift. While it took the team a few weeks to increase his snap share, Swift paid off for them almost immediately. After a slow start, Swift has totaled only 738 multi-purpose yards but has nine total touchdowns. That’s tied for 9th best for non-quarterbacks in scoring.

Defensive Rankings

  • Rush Yards Allowed/Gm 29th (137.3) / Pass Yards Allowed/Gm  27th (264.1)
  • Rush Touchdowns Allowed/Gm 32nd (1.7) / Pass Touchdowns Allowed/Gm 29th (2.1)
  • Sacks/Gm 28th (1.4) / Turnover Margin 24th (-0.4)

Looking at these stats, the reasoning behind the losing records starts to become more clear. In every category listed, the Lions are in the 7th worse or lower. That just makes it impossible to be a contender for your own division, much less the entire league.

Normally, using the Pro Bowl as a barometer for success would be ill advised, but for the Lions is pretty telling. They have no defensive player voted in. In fact, the only non offensive player the Lions have in the Pro Bowl is their punter. It seems he received plenty of work this season.

With no real marquee names on the defensive side of the ball, it’s a likely reason why the casual voter couldn’t name anyone to vote for.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn has not done this team any favors defensively. With the trade of Quandre Diggs to Seattle and Darius Slay to Philadelphia, the Lions net return was one 2021 3rd and two 5th round picks (they lost a 7th). The results of which is now a bottom tier defense and three very low chance of success draft choices.

What We Might Expect

Well, we can expect the usual from this Buccaneers team. A very slow start with a very real scare of losing against a mediocre team early on. Offensively, the Buccaneers will just have to avoid getting in their own way and executing the game plan. They can not stumble and let the Lions control the clock.

The Lions offense is also one of the worst in protecting the quarterback. They have allowed the 24th worst 2.6 sacks a game. Missing a few linemen this week is going to influence the already blitz happy Todd Bowles to send as many rushers as possible. This may not give Stafford enough time to get the ball deep to Marvin Jones.

Just like last week, the Bucs will need to treat this as a playoff game. Unlike a playoff caliber team, the Bucs will lose this week if they come out as soft and inept as they did against the Falcons.

Check back here at BucsReport.com for Nathan’s scouting report for each game.

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