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November 23, 2013 @ 1:05 pm
Current rating: 3.50 Stars/2 Votes

SR’s Pick 6: Bucs at Lions

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds will be looking for in Tampa Bay’s road trip to Detroit when the team faces the Lions? Find out in SR’s Pick 6.
The Buccaneers (2-8) take on the Detroit Lions (6-4) and are trying to extend their winning streak to three games. What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds is looking for in Tampa Bay’s upcoming game?

1. PUT REVIS ON MEGATRON – AND LEAVE HIM THERE
Detroit’s Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is capable of beating Tampa Bay by himself. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound All-Pro receiver can outrace most cornerbacks downfield and out-jump them for the ball when it gets there. The Bucs will undoubtedly play their top cornerback, Darrelle Revis, on Johnson for most of the game in man coverage, but Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano admitted on Friday that there will be some plays when Johnson will be defended by 6-foot-2, 185-pound rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks.

Banks does not have the experience and speed to keep up with Johnson – even with safety help – so that would be a mistake. Because football games typically come down to four or five plays, why would Tampa Bay risk letting Johnson catch a touchdown pass or make a big play against a rookie cornerback?

The best option would be to play Revis on Johnson on every play and give safety support over the top, even if Megatron is fully capable of out-leaping and out-fighting two defenders for the ball. The Bucs would be better off forcing Nate Burleson or Kevin Ogletree to beat them than allowing Detroit’s biggest gun to fire off on Tampa Bay’s defense.

2. DEFEND THE SEAMS OF FORD FIELD
The Buccaneers will be without two of its centerfielders on Sunday as free safety Dashon Goldson and middle linebacker Mason Foster as Goldson is suspended for another helmet hit and Foster is out with a concussion. That means the middle of Tampa Bay’s defense is susceptible with second-year safety Keith Tandy replacing Goldson and veteran reserve Adam Hayward replacing Foster. The Bucs lose some big-play ability as Foster had a pick-six last week and Goldson had an interception and a forced fumble.

As dangerous as wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush are, the Bucs need to keep an eye on tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria in the middle of the field. Pettigrew has more experience and has a good mix of strength and speed, while Fauria, a 6-foot-7 rookie, is a red zone threat that can create a mismatch with his size and enormous wingspan.
 
3. BE WARY OF BUSH ON SCREEN PASSES
As good as Lions running back Reggie Bush is as a running back, he’s just as dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield. The Bucs defense was targeted by screen passes against Philadelphia earlier in the season and LeSean McCoy had two catches for 55 yards, including a 44-yarder.

Bush has 36 catches for 366 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-high 77-yard reception this season through nine games after catching just 35 passes last year for 292 yards. Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David has the speed to keep up with Bush, but he may be the only defender that can cover him in a one-on-one situation. The Bucs have to be able to quickly recognize the Lions’ screen passes and snuff them out before Bush has a chance to break off long gains.

4. PROTECT GLENNON AT ALL COSTS
Detroit’s defensive line consists of several players that can get to the quarterback. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is one of the league’s best, and has 4.5 sacks this season. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley has 3.5 sacks, rookie defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has three sacks and Willie Young has two sacks on the year.

Tampa Bay’s offensive line has done a very good job in not just the running game, but also in pass protection. The Bucs’ O-line will have the added challenge of playing against the Lions in a very noisy environment. Tampa Bay has done a good job of protecting Glennon this year in hostile stadiums before at Atlanta and at Seattle. They will have to remain focused and give Glennon plenty of time to find wide receiver Vincent Jackson downfield.

5. JACKSON NEEDS TO BE CONSISTENT
Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson had a huge game last week against Atlanta, catching 10 passes for a season-high 165 yards and a touchdown. However, in the three previous games Jackson totaled just 10 receptions for 118 yards and no touchdowns.

Jackson has four 100-yard games this season, but has also had four games with less than 35 yards receiving. As Tampa Bay’s big-play threat in the passing game, Jackson will need to become much more consistent down the stretch, and the best time to start will be now by posting back-to-back 100-yard games against Atlanta and Detroit.

The Lions’ weakness on defense is at the cornerback position, and Jackson should be able to win most one-on-on match-ups, especially with his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame. Even if he’s double covered, Jackson has to step up, avoid the drops, and continue to make plays on a consistent basis.

6. REPLAY OF RUN, RAINEY, RUN
Last week, one of the things Tampa Bay had to do to prevail against Atlanta was to run Bobby Rainey. The Bucs did just that as Rainey had a career-high 163 yards and scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) on 30 carries. As a result, Rainey was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Tampa Bay needs to continue to establish the ground game with Rainey as the feature back. The Lions have a fast artificial surface at Ford Field, and Rainey could take advantage of that as a runner and as a receiver. The Bucs need to make sure that he gets at least 25 touches on Sunday. So Rainey doesn’t get worn out, the Bucs do need to mix Brian Leonard and newcomer Michael Hill into the running game to keep their starter fresh for the fourth quarter.

Last modified on Saturday, 23 November 2013 13:57
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    This was one lucky win. Calvin had a huge drop in the beginning of the game and Stafford missed a wide open Calvin for a potential TD also that crazy fumble/pick to clinch it. Bucs had lots of penalties too. No running game at all. But I must say it was a great game to watch. I love that this team is still playing hard and hungry for wins.
  • avatar


    Great defense and special teams, but lousy coaching. Lots of penalties again, and Rainey gained 35 yards on 18 carries. So much for the running game. Second and 28, and 22, and a run is called.
  • avatar

    @flashgordon: looks like you called this one to a T. Our defense came up huge with great cover schemes and key turnovers. They are looking better by the weeks.
  • avatar


    Glad we won. Only thing I am worried about is we forced a lot of turnovers today, and we only scored 24 points (7 by the defense).
  • avatar

    Nail biter/cliffhanger went our team's way today. Defense came up tough against a good team today. Go Bucs!!
  • avatar


    Think back to the fourth game of the preseason when the MVP for the Bucs was our backup MLB. Remember how ticked off I was with Schiano when he then rewarded the MVP for his outstanding play by cutting him. This will be the game where that capital mistake will come back to haunt Schiano. Right now we are vulnerable right up the middle just as you were concerned about here Scott. Detroit has a formidable Offensive Line and a very capable RB who can really exploit that weakness. For those of you who complained about DOM landing Revis, that is the only thing that gives the Bucs any chance against the Lions. But that is only if he is left on Calvin Johnson the whole game, but look for Dumb and Dumber to pull him off and insert our looser 2d round DB who lacks the speed to keep up with Calvin. A smart Coach would only play Leonard Johnson opposite Revis since there are two TEs who will be targeted if Revis stays on Calvin the entire game because Leonard can cover them and bring them down. When a dime backer is needed Gorer should be inserted who has very good speed to cover fast receivers going deep. Of course dumb Schiano kept him inactive the last game. With Rainey's running and our very improved QB and Offensive Line a great HC could still win this game but we don't have that Coach yet.
  • avatar


    Despite the talent on the Lions D, their D isn't playing that good. Despite the bucs D statistics, our D is on the way up. Unfortunately, two of our top defenders are out; I still expect the Bucs to challenge the Lions more often than not tomorrow.
  • avatar


    The Buc's coaching staff has made many mistakes this year and they will continue to due so. They will put Banks on Johnson and he will get burned again. The Cowboys were correct about Banks, nothing more than a 5th round pick. He is way to slow for a corner. IMO this looks like the LIONS take a step closer to the playoffs and show the Buc's we are not even close to being a playoff contender for a few years yet.
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