Buccaneers searching for playoffs on rare Saturday game
By Rob Leeds
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off this afternoon against the Detroit Lions in a game with profound playoff implications for a very long playoff drought.
The Buccaneers are 1-0 against interim head coaches so far this year and are looking to make that 2-0 today. The Lions were already one of the easier match-ups on this schedule, but the loss of head coach Matt Patricia makes it all the easier.
At 9-5, the Bucs are on the verge of doing something they have not done in nearly two decades. A win today ensures the Buccaneers end one of the most prolonged playoff droughts in the NFL.
This season has seen many highs and lows, but making it back in the playoffs would be the most significant success of the decade.
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With all of the questions surrounding the roster, Tom Brady, and the coaching staff, this team has still persevered. No matter where fans disagree about players or decisions, we can all agree that a trip to the playoffs is a massive step in the right direction for the franchise.
Fortunately for the Buccaneers, the Lions are not a very scary team. While Matthew Stafford is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the NFL, a weak defense and questionable play-calling has kept this team from causing too much damage so far this season.
The Lions will likely rely heavily on their run game early but will eventually transition to the pass when facing the porous Buccaneers secondary. Stafford is too good of a quarterback not to pick apart weak zones or soft man-coverage. Todd Bowles will have to be at the top of his game to allow his defense to find success.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bucs should have their way in every facet of the game. The Lions have struggled against the run and the pass, so Tom Brady should have a field day.
Watch for the Buccaneers to target Mike Evans often, who is still within striking distance of the NFL record for most consecutive thousand-yard seasons to start a career. Detroit’s secondary has struggled against mediocre quarterbacks and receivers, so this pairing with Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown should wreak havoc.
While nothing is a given, the Bucs are in a great situation today to meet their basic expectations for the season. Making the playoffs is not the end-all, but it would surely bring a smile to all of our faces.
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