Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) reacts with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) after the two combined on a nineteen yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Detroit Lions this weekend, so who better to help us learn more about the NFC North leaders and what they’ll look to do against the Buccaneers than SideLion Report editor Zac Snyder?
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Leo Howell – Darrelle Revis versus Megatron is the much-discussed matchup this week, and for good reason. Who do you see coming out on top of this matchup of the best corner and the best receiver in the NFL?
- Zac Snyder – I have a lot of respect for Revis and he did a good job in his only matchup with Megatron a few years ago. I think we can expect each player to have a few “wins” during the game. I don’t expect Revis to shut out Calvin but I don’t know that we’ll see a 100-yard receiving day either.
Leo Howell – The Lions have some seriously scary pass rushers up front, including some incredible interior defensive linemen. And while we usually only hear about them down in Florida when they’re being fined or suspended, tell us about the Detroit defensive tackles, and what sort of problems they’ll cause for Mike Glennon and the running game.
- Zac Snyder – When Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh are at their best they are using their speed and power to get in the face of the quarterback. But they aren’t just about getting to the quarterback, they want to hit him when they get there. Fairley has generally been the better of the two against the run but Suh has been much improved in that area this year. In the past opposing offenses used his aggressive pass rushing nature against him with well-designed running plays. He hasn’t been as susceptible to that this year.
Leo Howell – The Atlanta Falcons left Vincent Jackson open far too often last Sunday, and it led to an easy day for Mike Glennon. Jackson is a matchup nightmare and there is no Revis for the Lions. Do you think anyone (or any group of players or particular scheme) can slow down Vincent Jackson and help contain the Tampa Bay passing game?
- Zac Snyder – Jackson is my biggest concern. Number one receivers have had their way with the Lions this season, especially over the last handful of games. Glover Quin will be a key in providing safety help but the biggest help has to come in the form of an effective pass rush. The Lions can’t let Glennon get comfortable and while it might sound cliche, I think it really applies in this case.
Leo Howell – The Buccaneers have proven to be pretty solid at defending the run this season, but they have had their moments of weakness against some of the better backs in the league. Do you believe Reggie Bush and company can get a solid ground game going against the Bucs, or will Matthew Stafford have to shoulder the offense and make all the plays through the air?
- Zac Snyder – One of the big steps forward the Lions have taken this year has been their ability to be more balanced offensively. Reggie Bush is a better runner between the tackles than he is given credit for and rookie guard Larry Warford has been an impact player from day one. Bush and Joique Bell have been a perfect 1-2 punch and while they are built differently, both have been effective with the run or pass. The Lions should be able to get some things done on the ground.
Leo Howell – What do you see as the outcome of the game, and what will be the biggest storyline we’re discussing on Monday?
- Zac Snyder – Hopefully the storyline is that the Lions are back on track after the disappointment in Pittsburgh last week. The Lions could use a “get right” game coming home after the loss and heading into a big Thanksgiving meeting with the Green Bay Packers. I don’t think the Lions will take the Bucs lightly and believe they will get the job done, 27-16.