Lions safety takes a shot at Baker Mayfield and gives Bucs perfect bulletin board material

The former Saints safety is stirring the pot ahead of Sunday's Divisional Round showdown.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clipped the Philadelphia Eagles wings on Monday night in a Wild Card beat down, Antoine Winfield Jr caused a minor stir with his postgame comments.

Winfield was answering a question from CBS Sports reporter Evan Washburn about how next week's Divisional Round game is a revenge game for the Bucs, who lost to the Detroit Lions back in Week 6. With that multi-million dollar smile, Winfield leaned into the narrative.

"On a revenge tour, all those teams ahead of us beat us in the regular season," Winfield said. "We're gonna have a great time with them."

That was viewed by some as providing the Lions with bulletin board material, but the first true shot in that mental battle has been fired by Detroit.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson takes a shot at Baker Mayfield ahead of Divisional Round

Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson took time to compliment the wide receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but in giving them their flower he threw Baker Mayfield under the bus.

“[The Rams] group probably is one of the better groups we done faced all year, besides that Tampa group,” Gardner-Johnson said. “If you give that Tampa group a good quarterback, that’s a great group. Evans, Godwin, (Russell) Gage, that’s a great group. I played against them for real.”

If you give the Bucs a good quarterback...oh how original. Maybe Gardner-Johnson has simply been so plugged into things in Detroit this season that he hasn't noticed that Baker is, indeed, a good quarterback.

Mayfield is having a career year with the Bucs and has helped lead them to a better record than they had last year with Tom Brady and deeper into the playoffs than anyone thought they'd get.

Tampa Bay was predicted to be among the worst teams in the league, one that would be lucky more than three games. Instead, the Bucs won the NFC South for a third straight year and are a game away from returning to the NFC Championship Game. Baker is a major part of the success, something that Bucs fans have been presented with every time Kyle Trask is mentioned.

Baker hasn't been perfect, but he's set career-highs in almost every meaningful passing category and has fully tapped back into the talent he had when Cleveland took him No. 1 overall.

Then again, Gardner-Johnson carries a unique axe to grind into this weekend's game. Seven of the soon-to-be nine times he's faced the Bucs it was with the New Orleans Saints, which adds some extra texture to an already intense matchup.

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