Buccaneers vs. Lions 2013 game preview: Detroit tries to bounce back

USA TODAY Sports

Detroit looks to keep pace in the NFC North while Tampa aims for a third straight win.

The Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will square of on Sunday afternoon at Detroit's Ford Field.

For the Lions (6-4), the contest has plenty of playoff implications. Detroit is tied for the NFC North lead with the Chicago Bears and only one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers. Should the Lions fall out of the division lead, there is no guarantee of a wild card spot with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers holding better records at 7-3 and a tie-breaking 6-4, respectively.

Tampa Bay is simply trying to be respectable. The Buccaneers lost their first eight games before bouncing back to win their last two over the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. Tampa Bay has plenty of talent, but things went sideways early for this team. Now, the Bucs appear to have found their way.

Meet the Buccaneers

One of the main headlines for the rest of Tampa Bay's season is whether or not Mike Glennon proves to be a franchise quarterback. Drafted out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Glennon took the starting job away from a brutally incompetent Josh Freeman back in September.

In his seven games of action this year, Glennon has posted a 62.1 completion percentage, throwing for 1,535 yards and 11 touchdowns against only four interceptions. Last week versus Atlanta, Glennon was a sparkling 20 of 23 for 231 yards and a pair of scores.

The defense has also been playing well in recent times. The Buccaneers run defense ranks ninth in the NFL, allowing only 101.4 yards per game. The pass defense has also improved. Last week, Gerald McCoy had a monster showing with three sacks of Matt Ryan in the first quarter. He leads the team with six sacks on the year.

Meet the Lions

This Detroit team is built around throwing the ball and gaining yards after the catch. Of course, that is never a bad idea when you have Calvin Johnson on the roster. Johnson is in the midst of another tremendous season, amassing 1,083 yards and 11 touchdowns on 59 catches.

Running back Reggie Bush has also proven to be one of the best free-agent acquisitions of the offseason. Bush has 654 rushing yards on 4.5 yards per carry but also is second on the team in receiving with 366 yards. He has provided a great compliment to Johnson and a release valve for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford is having a great year in his own right, with 3,198 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Defensively, things have been so-so. The Lions struggle to stop the pass consistently with a shoddy secondary that ranks 30th in passing yards allowed per game at 283.8. However, the front seven is solid, giving up 94.6 rushing yards per game, fifth-best in football.

Local take: Tampa Bay

Over at Bucs Nation, JC DeLaTorre writes about whether he believes Glennon could be the Buccaneers' future:

I was mocked last week when I said that Glennon is a capable starter in this league. Is he ever going to be Drew Brees? I don't believe so. Can he be the Bucs quarterback of the present and future? I admit, I'm beginning to believe he can.

Local take: Detroit

Sean Yuille of Pride Of Detroit discusses the playoff picture for the Lions:

The bad news for the Lions is that the wild-card race is becoming more and more crowded. As a fallback option, it's not exactly looking all that great, especially with the Cardinals firmly in the mix. They own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Lions, so if Detroit doesn't win the NFC North, it could be tough to secure one of the wild-card spots.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Bucs Nation and Pride Of Detroit, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@Bucs_Nation

@PrideOfDetroit

Prediction

Tampa Bay is playing much better football, but this should be a win for Detroit. The Lions are firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt and need a win badly after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. With Dashon Goldson suspended for this game, the Buccaneers secondary is weakened. I expect the Lions to take full advantage and throw deep early and often. Darrelle Revis should slow Johnson some, but not enough to pull off the upset.

Pick: Detroit 27, Tampa Bay 16

Odds

The Lions are favored by 10 points at home over the Buccaneers, per Oddsshark.com.

Next Week

Detroit hosts the Packers on Thanksgiving Day while Tampa Bay hits the road to face the Panthers.

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