Detroit News scouting report: Buccaneers at Lions
Buccaneers at Lions
Kicking off: Saturday, 1 p.m., Ford Field, Detroit
TV / radio: NFL Network / 760 AM
Records: Buccaneers 9-5; Lions 5-9
Line: Buccaneers from 9.5
Matt Schoch cancels Lions Week 16 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for The Detroit News:
TOM BRADY AGAINST THE LIONS
Don’t worry about what’s important from a perspective other than the Detroit theater.
With that in mind, how about the joy of seeing Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest soccer player in history and a proud Michigan graduate?
Brady and the Bucs surpassed their old New England team this year, a nice feather in the hat for a man whose hat has been run over with feathers.
More: Lions coaching staff shuffled when Bevell wanted to miss Saturday’s game due to COVID
Brady made his career debut at Ford Field on Thanksgiving 2000, going 1-3 late on mop-up duty after Bryant Westbrook banked Drew Bledsoe with a 101-yard interception return for one Touchdown in a 34-9 Detroit router from New England behind Charlie Batch.
That was Brady’s only game action of his rookie year, and he’s been avenging that loss ever since.
Tom Brady, QB: Watch Tom Brady again. The legend is 4-2 against the Lions, in which research assistant Evan Rothstein plays against the goat. Just the lions. Year # 21, Brady will reach 4,000 yards for the 12th time. However, his 11 interceptions leave him flirting with his career high of 14. He has a large number of recipients including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown.
Rob Gronkowski, TE: It’s not just the wideouts that helped Brady. Old friend Gronkowski came out of retirement to bring the band back together. Gronk was productive with 41 catches for 536 yards and five touchdowns. However, his 13.1 yards per catch is the lowest since his rookie season.
►Ndamukong Suh, DT: The former Lions-dominated defender is 33 years old and is now on his fourth NFL team. Suh’s five sacks fit in with his best season since 2016. The Tampa D-line also includes more seasoned big names in Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern, Michigan State).
Facts and figures
► The Tampa Bay Rush Defense is best in the NFL, dumping only 3.4 yards per carry, almost half a yard better than the next best team. Hope you don’t count on D’Andre Swift in your fantasy football championship.
► Coach Bruce Arians has to be great at the halftime speech – or at least the halftime adjustments. The Bucs have the best point differential in the NFL in the second half, beating their opponents by 99 points after half.
► Among the locations where the Lions defenses will fight is the red zone. Brady and the Bucs lead the NFL there, scoring 51 of their 53 trips to the rating area (96.2%).
Matt Schoch is a writer for PlayMichigan.com and freelance for The Detroit News.