With nothing left on the line, the Buccaneers (4-8) begin the final quarter of the season on Sunday. The Lions (6-6) are in town, which gives Tampa Bay a chance to play spoiler. Here, we have a preview and broadcast info for the 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
Heading into 2017, many thought that the Buccaneers would be making a playoff push in the final quarter of the season. Just about everyone was wrong. A lot has gone wrong in the first twelve games of the season. Now, Tampa Bay will limp to the finish line and likely have a top ten draft pick next April. The Lions, on the other hand, are still fighting for the postseason. Sunday’s game will make-or-break their playoff chances. Three of the Bucs’ final four games will be played at Raymond James Stadium, starting on Sunday.
The Bucs are coming off a brutal overtime loss to the Packers in Green Bay. Quarterback Jameis Winston returned with an okay performance, but he and the defense couldn’t do enough to escape with a road win. Peyton Barber was a bright spot, rushing for 102 yards and catching four passes for 41 yards. The Bucs came up with a crucial stop at the end of regulation, but lost the coin toss to start overtime. Then, the defense imploded and allowed the game-winning touchdown to Aaron Jones on his first and only carry of the game. The loss assured that Tampa Bay cannot finish the season with a winning record.
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Detroit has lost two straight, most recently falling 44-20 to the Ravens on the road. The Lions got within 27-20 early in the fourth quarter, but then allowed 17 straight points to end the game. Now, at 6-6, they are on the edge of the playoff picture. They need a win on Sunday to keep their already-slim hopes alive, but the Bucs will be looking to play spoiler.
The Lions come into Sunday’s game ranked fifteenth in total offense, while the Bucs are 31st in total defense. Tampa Bay is thirteenth in total offense, which matches up against Detroit’s 26th-ranked defense. Points may not be very hard to come by at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Bucs are still struggling with injuries, although Doug Martin is set to return this week after missing last week with a concussion. However, Tampa Bay will still be without Vernon Hargreaves (hamstring), Clinton McDonald (back), Josh Robinson (hamstring) and T.J. Ward (concussion). The x-factor in this matchup is the health of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (hand), who is questionable. He is likely to play, but considering the injury is to his throwing hand, it could affect his play in the game.
The last time these two teams met was in week fourteen of the 2014 season. Detroit came away with a 34-17 win at home, thanks to 311 yards and three touchdowns from Stafford. Vincent Jackson caught ten passes for 159 yards on the day for Tampa Bay.
Where to Watch
FOX will have the television broadcast of Sunday’s game. The team of Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Buccaneer legend Ronde Barber (color commentary) and Kristina Pink (sideline) will call the action.
Where to Listen
As usual, 98Rock (97.9 FM) will have the radio broadcast in the Tampa Bay area. Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (commentary) and T.J. Rives (sideline) will have the call. For other radio options around Florida, check here. Buccaneers.com and the Buccaneers mobile app will also have the radio broadcast.
Satellite radio subscribers can hear the Tampa Bay broadcast on XM 226. Detroit’s broadcast will be on XM Internet 810.
For in-game and postgame coverage of Sunday’s game, follow @ThePewterPlank on Twitter.