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Two teams that are eliminated from playoff contention will meet when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Detroit to face the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon. Despite being eliminated from the postseason, Tampa Bay enters Sunday’s game on a three-game winning streak. Detroit is heading in the opposite direction, having lost its last six games en route to a 3-9-1 record.
Tampa Bay getting hotTampa Bay has won three games in a row and four of its last five games heading into Sunday’s contest. The Bucs' most recent win was a 38-35 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. They went 2-2 in their first two games of the season, but lost their next four games to essentially seal their fate. Tampa Bay’s recent stretch has included wins against Arizona, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Its lone loss came in a 34-17 home defeat against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11.
The Buccaneers are dealing with key injuries heading into this game. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston is expected to play through a broken thumb on his throwing hand, an injury he suffered last week. Star wide receiver Mike Evans will miss the game with a hamstring injury—something that could sideline him for the rest of the season. Winston leads the offense with 4,115 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. Interceptions have been a problem once again, as he has tossed 23 picks. Ronald Jones is the team’s leading rusher with 136 carries for 518 yards and five touchdowns. Peyton Barber has added 133 attempts for 430 yards and six scores. Evans’ absence will be huge and will place an emphasis on Chris Godwin, who has 81 catches for 1,212 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Detroit slumpingThe Detroit Lions opened the season with a promising start, picking up wins against Los Angeles and Philadelphia, while tying with Arizona in the season-opener. They have only had one victory since then, though, which came in a Week 8 game against the New York Giants. Losses have piled up, as Detroit has lost to Kansas City, Green Bay, Minnesota (x2), Oakland, Chicago (x2), Dallas and Washington. The Lions have lost six games in a row and starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed the last five games with hip and back injuries. Backup Jeff Driskel has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
Rookie quarterback David Blough has started the last two games at quarterback for Detroit. Blough has completed 46 of 78 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns this season, while also throwing three interceptions. Running back Bo Scarbrough started last week’s game and has rushed for 301 yards on 72 carries this season, which is good for an average of 4.18 yards per carry. J.D. McKissic has added 37 attempts for 203 yards. The wide receivers are led by Kenny Golladay, who has caught 53 passes for 1,008 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wide receiver Marvin Jones is out for the season after getting injured last week. He has caught 62 passes for 779 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
- 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- 1-5 ATS in its last six games following an ATS loss
- 1-6 ATS in its last seven vs. the NFC
Tampa Bay is:
- 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games in December
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games in Week 15
- 3-1-1 ATS in its last five road games vs. a team with a losing record at home
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a difficult game to predict simply due to injury concerns on both sides. It’s tough to know how good Winston will be with his broken thumb, especially without his top target in the passing game. Detroit is dealing with a third-string quarterback and will miss one of its best wide receivers. I have to side with Tampa Bay to win this game as road favorites in this one. The Buccaneers actually have some positive momentum coming into this contest, while the Lions are completely down and out. Tampa Bay might be out of the playoff race, but I like them to pick up a win against the stumbling Lions.
Prediction: Tampa Bay -3
Full-Game Total Pick
I am going with the under in this contest. Tampa Bay enters this one with an injured quarterback and without its best wide receiver, while Detroit is playing with a third-string quarterback and will be without one of its best wideouts. The Lions have only scored more than 25 points once during their six-game losing streak, so it’s tough to see them exploding offensively in this game. Tampa Bay has been able to score some points lately, but Winston was healthy and Evans was available. Both teams should run the ball more than normal in this game, which will help bleed the clock.
Prediction: Under 47