The Buccaneers have won seven of the last nine meetings with the Lions, but Detroit leads the all-time series 27-25 in the regular season. 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 four consecutive games against the Lions, dating back to 2001 before dropping their game in Detroit last season, 23-16.
Date: Sunday, December 19, 2010
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,890)
2010 Records: Tampa Bay 8-5, Detroit 3-10
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton, Analyst: Charles Davis
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
National Radio: Compass Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt, Color: Curtis Conway
Last Game: Tampa Bay won at Washington, 17-16; Detroit defeated Green Bay, 7-3
SERIES BY THE NUMBERS
Overall Regular Season Series:………………… Detroit leads series, 27-25
Home Record vs. Detroit Lions:………………………………………….. 13-12
Road Record vs. Detroit Lions:…………………………………………… 12-15
Current Streak:…………………………………. Buccaneers, one game (2008)
Buccaneers Longest Streak:…………………………. Four games (2001-05)
Lions Longest Streak:……………………………………Five games (1994-96)
Regular Season Point Total:………………….Buccaneers 896 – Lions 1,094
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)
Fountain Of Youth
Stockpiling young talent has been a priority for the Buccaneers over the past two offseasons. The dramatic reshaping of the roster has allowed the Buccaneers to focus on developing the young talent on their roster, through game experience, while keeping one eye on the future.
Beginning in 2009 when General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris took control, the team has seen a 69.8 percent roster turnover. Of the team’s current active 53-man roster, 37 were not with the team in some capacity at the end of the 2008 season.
Entering Week 14, the Buccaneers 53-man roster features 29 players in their rookie, first or second years in the NFL, accounting for more than half of the Tampa Bay active roster. The team also has an additional nine third-year players.
With their strong presence of rookie and second year players, the Buccaneers rank as the youngest roster in the league.
YOUNGEST AVERAGE AGE / 53 MAN ROSTER (Week 14)
Team Yrs Days
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 190
Jacksonville Jaguars 26 8
Carolina Panthers 26 15
Indianapolis Colts 26 93
Miami Dolphins 26 197
Players To Watch
Looking for a spark in the running game, the Buccaneers turned to undrafted rookie free agent RB LeGarrette Blount. Blount answered, providing an immediate impact, as he ranks among the league leaders in rushing for rookie running backs and has been nominated for Rookie of the Week three times.
He is currently tied for second in touchdowns (5), second in rushing yards (667), second in yards per carry (4.5) and first in yards per game (66.7) among rookie running backs. He also has the second longest rush (48 yards) of any rookie this season.
Since receiving the lions share of carries starting in week seven, Blount has amassed 637 rushing yards on 139 carries for an average of 4.58 yards per carry and four touchdowns for an a average of 79.6 yards per game.
This season, Freeman has been Mr. Third-Down, completing 68 of 116 pass attempts for 780 yards, three touchdowns and a completion percentage of 58% with one interception and a quarterback rating of 84. Of those 68 completions 42 have resulted in the Bucs picking up a first down. Freeman also currently ranks second in the NFC in fourth quarter passer rating (94.3) with a minimum of 30 attempts. His six interceptions are the second fewest by any quarterback with at least 170 pass attempts this season.
Freeman has led the team to convert at least 40.0 percent of their third-down attempts in nine of the first 13 games, with five consecutive to start the season. It marked the first time in franchise history the team has had five consecutive games with at least a 40.0 percent third-down conversion rate.
On the year, he currently ranks sixth in the NFC in third down passer rating and has thrown just one interception on a third down play. His legs have been just as productive on third downs, as 22 of Freeman’s 55 runs this year have come on third down, with 17 of those resulting in first downs. Seven of his 16 third down scrambles have come on third-and-nine or longer. In just 13 games, Freeman has already converted five third-and-fours, five third-and-one’s, two third-and-11s, two third-and-nine’s, a third-and-16, a third-and seven and a third-and-three by running.
In this year’s draft, 12 wide receivers were taken ahead of 2010 fourth-round draft pick (101st overall) WR Mike Williams. Though Williams wasn’t drafted highly, his talent and production on the field is leading some experts to consider him the “steal of the draft” and a possible Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Through his first 13 games as a pro, Williams has already been up for NFL Rookie of the Week five times, all but one after a Buccaneers victory.
Williams currently has the twelfth-most receiving yards in the NFC and 22nd most in the NFL. He also ranks tied for seventh in 20-plus yard receptions, in the NFL and 13th in YAC amongst receivers. Among rookie receivers, Williams is currently first in receptions (52), first in receiving yards (784) and first in receiving touchdowns (7). He is the only rookie in Buccaneers history to have 10+ receptions, 100+ receiving yards and 2+ touchdowns in first three games of career. He currently sits at number four for receptions by a Buccaneer rookie receiver, third in receiving yards, and in tied for first with seven receiving touchdowns as a rookie.
QB Matthew Stafford (right shoulder)
LB Landon Johnson (neck)
DE Cliff Avril (rib)
LB Vinny Ciurciu (concussion)
WR Brian Clark (non-injury related)
QB Shaun Hill (right finger)
RB Jahvid Best (toe)
DE Turk McBride (ankle)
RB Maurice Morris (chest)
LB DeAndre Levy (groin)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
WR Mike Williams (knee)
Lions Head Coach: Jim Schwartz
Lions Offensive Coordinator: Scott Linehan
Lions Defensive Coordinator: Gunther Cunningham
Lions Special Teams Coach: Danny Crossman
DETROIT LIONS OFFENSE
Overall: 17th (335.2 ypg)
Rushing: 27th (96.8 ypg)
Passing: 11th (238.5 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 10th (24)
Points Scored: 17th (21.9 ppg)
DETROIT LIONS DEFENSE
Overall: 19th (342.9 ypg)
Rushing: 22nd (122.7 ypg)
Passing: 13th (220.2 ypg)
Sacks: 6th (36)
Points Allowed: 21st (23.8 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 21st (323.3 ypg)
Rushing: 11th (117.9 ypg)
Passing: 22nd (205.4 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 8th (22)
Points Scored: 22nd (20.0 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 16th (339.3 ypg)
Rushing: 27th (133.1 ypg)
Passing: 11th (206.2 ypg)
Sacks: 30th (20)
Points Allowed: 13th (20.5 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.