Keys to the Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

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Merry Christmas Buccaneers fans! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday, we all know this year was unlike any other. Luckily, we have Tampa Bay Buccaneer football on a Saturday afternoon against the lowly Detroit Lions.

Would you consider it a primetime game, with the only contest on at the time? I sure hope not given the Buccaneers luck in those games, but I don’t think it will matter…

Use Play-Action Early

It’s no secret that the Buccaneers are a lethal offense when they use play-action, but unfortunately, the offense doesn’t always utilize it.

Against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Byron Leftwich refused to use play-action until the running game was established. Which, as we know, doesn’t make a difference. Linebackers have to respect the run regardless.

To Leftwich’s credit, he opted to start using play-action in the second half, and we saw an explosion of 31 points in the second half.

This week against the Lions, Tampa Bay needs to use play-action to start the game. The Lions defense is bottom in the league, but they do manage to score points in the first quarter of games.

The Buccaneers offense needs to prove they can score in the first quarter, there’s no better time than against lowly Detroit.

Pressure Stafford Up the Middle

Matthew Stafford is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. He portrays toughness every week, usually playing through injuries that would sideline other players for multiple games.

This week, Stafford is nursing a thumb and rib injury, which means he won’t be as elusive in the pocket. Lions center Frank Ragnow is also questionable which will force the team to utilize fourth year player Joe Dahl.

These injuries play right into the Buccaneers strengths, as blitzing up the middle has been Devin White’s specialty.

His eight sacks on the year are the most for an inside linebacker. Six of them came in two games, when White was consistently running free up the middle.

The Lions are a bad football team. While there offense is about league average. Their defense ranks bottom in the league in most metrics, including DVOA, where the rank last.

Santa may be a bit late this year, but the Buccaneer fans should find one more Christmas present under the tree when Tampa Bay secures a playoff birth for the first time in 13 years.

For more from Nick Sitro go to Bucsreport.com!

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