The NFL week 15 Buccaneers at Lions free pick sees two teams going in the same direction – missing the postseason – but with polar opposite ends to their season. Tampa Bay comes on the road as -5.5 favorites after winning their last 3. Detroit has now dropped six in a row and has just a 2-4 record at Ford Field this season. Can Tampa Bay get the TD-plus win here?
Bucs Set to Throw the Ball All Over the Field
The total for Sunday’s game is 46 mostly because Tampa Bay’s thrilling offense is up against Detroit’s 30th ranked pass defense. Jameis Winston suffered a hair line fracture in his thumb last week, but is cleared to play in the NFL week 15 Buccaneers at Lions free pick. Winston threw for a season high 456 yards last week with 4 TD. He will turn the ball over though as evidenced by 3 more INT in a win over the Colts in week 14, giving him 23 on the year.
Tampa Bay does get a blow with Mike Evans landing on the injured reserve with a hamstring pull from last week. It’s been Chris Godwin that has stepped up with 81 catches and 1200+ yards anyways. Detroit is still VERY vulnerable vs. the pass, giving up 276.5 yards per game. Kirk Cousins went 24/30 last week vs. the Lions, Mitch Trubisky had 338 with 3 TD the game before, and Dak Prescott has 444 with 3 TD vs. the Detroit defense over the past month.
The Lions offense has been struggling after turning to a 3rd string QB due to injuries, averaging just 14.3 ppg the last three. Tampa Bay’s defense held Atlanta to 22 points and Jacksonville to 11 before a 38-35 win over the Colts last week. 4 Tampa Bay turnovers and a Darius Leonard 80-yard INT return definitely contributed to that though.
Can Detroit Keep This One Close?
The Lions have lost six in a row, with last week being their biggest blowout defeat 7-20 at Minnesota as -12 point underdogs. The Lions ran the ball 22 times for 70 yards and QB David Blough was 24/40 for 205 with 1/2. Blough did throw for 280 with 2/1 vs. Chicago in his first career start two weeks ago however.
Aside from the loss to the Vikings, the other 5 defeats during Detroit’s skid have come by one score or less. They fell just 20-24 at home to Chicago on Thanksgiving, lost by 3 at an improving Washington before that and fell by 8,7, and 8 to the Cowboys, Bears, and Raiders prior to that. The Lions lost by a total of 5 points to Kansas City and Green Bay to start the season, but that was also with Matthew Stafford under center.
Aside from offensive question marks, can the Lions #29 ranked overall defense contain the Tampa Bay #3 scoring attack on Sunday? The Bucs have scored 28 plus points in 5 of the last 6.
NFL Week 15 Buccaneers at Lions Free Pick
Winston throws a lot of turnovers when healthy, how is he going to perform on Sunday with a hairline fracture on his throwing hand? Evans is also out for Tampa – but so is Marvin Jones and his 9 TD catches for Detroit which definitely hurts the Lions chances to keep this one close. Bruce Arians has the ability to motivate a team, even one in the lame duck portion of their season.
Pick: Tampa Buccaneers -5.5