Bucs need to be able to handle Detroit

by Gary Shelton on December 26, 2020

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

We will not know for some time if the Bucs are capable of beating a good team. The schedule doesn't allow for such clues.

But today, we find out if the Bucs can beat another bad one.

It is time for the Bucs to stop the foolishness. It's time they won, big and easily, in today's game against the Detroit Lions. It's time they got off to a good start, with energy and efficiency, and then closed out another opponent. It's time they don't play from behind. It's time they stayed off of their heels. It's time they dominated.

Isn't it?

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Look, the NFL is a league of close games, most of them decided in the fourth period. But the NFL is also a league that keeps Detroit hanging around, the hapless, hopeless Lions.

Sometimes, a potentially good team needs to step on one that isn't good at all. It needs to flex its muscles. It needs to make a statement.

The Lions have Matt Stafford and, well, a sack of beans. They will not have their head coach. They re 5-9 and mailing in the season. Which means that a fast start -- Bucs' fans remember those, don't they? -- could cause Detroit to lose interest.

Ah, but fast starts are a memory for this team, which tends to stand around and stare for a couple of quarters before waking up.

Once again, the Bucs will hope that Tom Brady (averaging 277.6 yards passing per game) can lead them. Starting running back Ronald Jones II will miss his second straight game, meaning that Leonard Fournette has another opportunity to prove his youth.

The Bucs should be able to move the ball. Detroit is last in the NFL in points allowed and 30th in yardage allowed.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 29, Detroit 14 .

Other NFL predictions:

Kansas City 35, Atlanta 17.

Pittsburgh 27, Indianapolis 24.

Seattle 33, L.A. Rams 23.

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