3 Matchups to Watch For in Bucs-Lions Contest

Brandon Justice

Two teams on completely different streaks face off Sunday in Motown.

The Buccaneers walk into Ford Field as winners of three straight.

And despite likely being eliminated from playoff contention, Bucs head man Bruce Arians has them playing for something.

Meanwhile, the Lions are losers of six consecutive contests with an offense that’s gone dormant and a defense ranking in the bottom of the league in most categories.

If you’re still watching this team, you’re brave.

Here are three matchups to keep an eye out for on Sunday:

Detroit’s passing attack vs. Tampa Bay’s passing defense

The further removed we are from David Blough’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay in the first series of his career, the more he continues to look like a third-string quarterback.

That being said, having to face off with Minnesota’s and Chicago’s defenses is a far different beast than going up against Tampa Bay’s.

The Bucs’ passing defense ranks 31st in the NFL -- one of only two teams ranked lower than you guessed it, the Lions.

Even with Blough having faced the stout defenses he’s faced, Detroit’s passing attack has ranked in the middle of the league over the last three weeks.

Marvin Jones is on injured reserve.

So, this looks like a game where Blough uses Golladay -- his favorite target -- and safety valve Danny Amendola for somewhere north of 250 passing yards.

Jameis Winston vs. The Turnover Bug

Winston might be the most interesting quarterback of all-time.

He’s thrown three or more touchdowns four different times this year, and has thrown an interception each time that has occurred -- on two occasions, he's thrown multiple INTs.

Additionally, he’s thrown for over 300 yards eight times, and has thrown an interception in all but one of those contests, including four instances with three or more INTs.

He leads the league in interceptions with seven more (23) than the quarterback with the second-most INTs -- the Browns' Baker Mayfield.

But Winston's also second in the league in passing touchdowns and yards with 26 TDs and a career-high 4,115 passing yards.  

Detroit’s passing defense -- ranked 30th in the league -- is sure to give up a plethora of yards to the risk-taking former Florida State passer.

But can it take advantage of the turnover bug haunting Winston?

And even then, will the Lions take advantage of the turnovers and put some points on the board?

This matchup alone could determine the game’s outcome.

Shaquil Barrett vs. Detroit’s offensive line

Tampa Bay ranks 15th in the league in sacks per game.

However, it possesses the league’s best pass rusher in 2019 in Shaquil Barrett, who should be on Detroit’s radar in free agency this offseason.

On a one-year deal, Barrett has racked up 15.5 sacks in 13 games, and has set himself up for a big pay day.

Last week, Danielle Hunter totaled three sacks against the Lions, and earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Hunter was a menace all game, and created all sorts of issues for Blough in the pocket. It led the Lions to be shut out for the majority of the afternoon.

In the last three weeks, Detroit is giving up the fourth-most sacks in the NFL at 4.3 sacks per game. 

Could Barrett produce the same -- if not more -- than Hunter did a week ago?

Read Next: Lamorandier's Lions 3-Round Mock Draft

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