Posted in Game Previews

Game Preview: Week 1 Bucs vs. Lions

by Roland Johnson on September 10, 2011

The Buccaneers have won seven of the last ten meetings with the Lions, but Detroit leads the all-time regular season series 28-25. Tampa also prevailed 20-10 in a wildcard playoff win in Tampa during the 1997 season. The teams first met in 1977, a 16-7 Lions victory at the Silverdome. The Bucs’ first win over the Lions came in the 1979 season opener, a 31-16 triumph that propelled Tampa Bay to its first NFC Central title. Two years later, the Bucs captured their second division crown with a 20-17 win at Detroit on the season’s final Sunday. The series see-sawed throughout the 1980s, with the Lions holding a 10-9 edge. Detroit went on a five-game streak, starting in 1994. The Bucs ended the streak in 1997 with a 24-17 win in Pontiac. Later that year, Tampa Bay said farewell to Tampa Stadium with a 20-10 Wild Card victory over the Lions before 73,361 fans. Tampa Bay had won the previous meeting between the two teams in 2008, but lost last season in Tampa, 23-20.

GAME INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, September 11, 2011
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,908)
2010 Records: Tampa Bay 10-6, Detroit 6-10
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Chris Myers, Analyst: Tim Ryan, Sideline: Jennifer Hale
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
Up Next: Tampa Bay @ Minnesota (9/18), Detroit vs. Kansas City (9/18)

Series By The Numbers
Overall Regular Season Series:………………… Detroit leads series, 28-25
Home Record vs. Detroit Lions:………………………………………….. 13-13
Road Record vs. Detroit Lions:…………………………………………… 12-15
Current Streak:…………………………………………. Lions, one game (2010)
Buccaneers Longest Streak:…………………………. Four games (2001-05)
Lions Longest Streak:……………………………………Five games (1994-96)
Regular Season Point Total:………………….Buccaneers 916 – Lions 1,117
Most Points, Buccaneers:……….. 38, twice, last Buccaneers 38-20 (2008)
Most Points, Lions:………………………….38, twice, last Lions 38-7 (1992)
Most Points, both teams:…………………….. 59, Buccaneers 38-21 (1990)
Fewest Points, Buccaneers:……….. 0, three times, last Lions 27-0 (1996)
Fewest Points, Lions:……….. 10, five times, last Buccaneers 31-10 (2000)
Fewest Points, both teams:……………………………11, Lions 11-0 (1983)

MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Bucs O-Line vs. Lions D-Line
Last season the Bucs offensive line surrendered 30 sacks, the Lions defense sacked opposing QB’s 44 times. The Bucs were without Jeff Faine, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood was not starting when the Lions beat the Bucs in overtime. Mark Dominik has shelled out $110 million in contracts with roughly $39 million guaranteed to LT Donald Penn, RG Joseph and RT Trueblood over the past two off-seasons to protect Freeman, the face of the franchise.

With new offensive line coach Pat Morris, in tow. This is a critical unit to watch in the season opener. Especially after a less than stellar pre-season performance, where they allowed far too much pressure and seldom moved the LOS.

The most intriguing battle however will be Trueblood vs. Lions DE Cliff Avril.Trueblood has struggled against speed rushers in the past. Avril a speed rusher extraordinaire could give Trueblood fits in his attempt to protect Freeman.

Aqib Talib vs. Calvin Johnson
Johnson had 10 catches for 152-yards and 1 touchdown against the Talibless Bucs in last years meeting. Talib who’s not played in a game since week 12 of 2010 after being placed on injured reserve will be tested by the athletic Johnson.

This is strength versus strength for both teams. Talib and Johnson both represent the best player for their respective teams on defense and offense. Which ever player, gets the best of the other goes along way in helping decide the outcome of this game.

Josh Freeman vs. Lions Secondary
Last year, Freeman led the Buccaneers to 10 wins, becoming the first quarterback under the age of 23 to win at least 10 games since 2004 (Ben Roethlisberger). Seven of Freeman’s 13 career victories have been fourth-quarter comeback or OT wins. Freeman had a career-best 95.9 passer rating in 2010, the sixth-highest mark in the NFL. His 3,451 passing yards last year were the fourth-most in team history and he joined Brad Johnson as the only Bucs to pass for at least 3,000 yards, 20 TDs (25) and fewer than 10 interceptions (6) in a season.

With the Lions top interceptor from last season CB Alphonso Smith out. This should provide the Bucs deep receiving corps some mismatch opportunities. Don’t be too surprised to see Dezmon Briscoe become an early favorite of Freeman with Mike Williams garnering extra attention.

INJURY REPORT
Detroit Lions
CB Alphonso Smith (foot) Out
DT Nick Fairley (foot) Out
OT Jason Fox (foot) Out
RB Maurice Morris (hand) Probable
DT Andre Fluellen (hand) Probable

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB Myron Lewis (ankle) Out
G Ted Larsen (ankle) Probable
LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring) Probable

ENEMY COACHES
Lions Head Coach: Jim Schwartz
Lions Offensive Coordinator: Gunther Cunningham
Lions Defensive Coordinator: Scott Linehan
Lions Special Teams Coach: Danny Crossman

STATISTICAL RANKINGS: (2010 Regular Season)
DETROIT LIONS OFFENSE
Overall: 17th (338.9 ypg)
Rushing: 23rd (100.8 ypg)
Passing: 12th (238.1 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 6th (27)
Points Scored: 15th (22.6 ppg)
DETROIT LIONS DEFENSE
Overall: 21st (343.6 ypg)
Rushing: 24th (124.9 ypg)
Passing: 16th (218.6 ypg)
Sacks: 6th (44)
Points Allowed: 19th (23.1 ppg)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 19th (335.1 ypg)
Rushing: 8th (125.1 ypg)
Passing: 17th (210.1 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 10th (30)
Points Scored: 20th (21.3 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 17th (332.7 ypg)
Rushing: 28th (131.7 ypg)
Passing: 7th (201 ypg)
Sacks: 30th (26)
Points Allowed: 9th (19.9 ppg)

Buc Central’s Prognostication:
As always we are not advocating gambling based on our views of the game, especially considering we typically are inclined to make such educated guesses using are heart rather the any rational thought applied to picking. We are merely giving an opinion of who we think has the best chance at securing a victory.

LIONS 29
BUCCANEERS 23

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