2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Talking Plank - Week 11

The Talking Plank - Week 11

Bucs At Lions:

After making a tight game out of what should have been a blow out, the Bucs now travel to Detroit for the classic trap game. This is a team they should handle, but the Bucs have had troubles taking care of Detroit in the past, including last year. Detroit...umm...sucks. But hey, let's look at the match-ups.

On Offense, the Bucs come in ranked 9th overall (351.6y/g), 21st in points (21.9/g), 8th passing (236.5y/g), and 14th rushing (115.1y/g). The Lions are ranked 31st in total defense (402.1y/g), 31st in points allowed (30.8/g), 23rd against the pass (230.6y/g), and 32nd against the run (171.5y/g). The Lions will not have the two defensive linemen that gave the Bucs a lot of trouble last year. Shaun Rodgers is gone, and Dewayne White is out for this game. The Lions have only managed 17 sacks, and are on pace to have given up 2000+ yards on the ground in after this game and the next. The Bucs will need to take advantage of the Lions' run defense, and their knowledge of the defense in general. The Lions will have a really hard time producing sacks against an offensive line that has only given up 11 sacks all season. With the lack of real size on the Lions' DL, the Bucs should be able to get some movement up front and generate some nice holes. The Lions' linebackers are quick, but undersized, and can be moved by our tight ends and fullbacks. The Lions' secondary isn't very good, and only has one of the Lions' meager 2 picks. This is a team the Bucs' offense should be able to take advantage of as long as Garcia doesn't play tentative and fail to take advantage of the plays that are there. I expect Dunn to be the main ball carrier, but also expect to see Caddy activated and used for a 5-10 plays in the game. Smith will likely get carries as well, but needs to hold onto the ball...something they worked on during the week. The Bucs' receivers should be able to take advantage of this secondary and havfe a pretty big game. In the end, I expect the Bucs to rack up the yards and score some points.

On Defense, the Bucs defense is ranked 5th overall (281.5y/g), 4th in points allowed (16/g), 4th against the pass (182.2y/g), and 12th against the run (99.3y/g). The Lions' offense is ranked 28th overall (276.9y/g), 28th in points scored (17.3/g), 22nd passing (196y/g), and 30th rushing (80.9y/g). The Lions will be without their starting Center again, and will apparently be going with Culpepper at QB. The Bucs will need to pay attention to Johnson,and keep the deep ball from being a major weapon against them. Beyond that, the Bucs' defense should be able to corral the Lions' offense. They'll start with containing Kevin Smith. If they accomplish that, they should be able to get after Culpepper. The Lions' have given up 37 sacks so far this season. While their line is big, they seem to have problems dealing with athletic lineman and can't seem to consistently open holes. If the Bucs can contain Peterson, they can contain Smith. The Lions' various QB's have also coughed up 12 picks, and are -7 in turn over ratio. If the Bucs can keep the Lions' from hitting on the big plays, and keep the running game in check, the Lions' will be lucky to score more than 10 points.

On Special Teams, the Bucs are averaging 7.5 yards per punt and 24.8 per kick return, while allowing 9.3 yards per punt, and 20.7 yards per kick. The Lions' are averaging 8.9 per punt and 21.4 per kick, while allowing 7.1 per punt and 21.1 per kick return. The Bucs are slightly better in the punting area with Bidwell, while Hanson is a better kicker. Bryant is still reasonably reliable, though. The Bucs should be able to continue to get excellent results from Smith, and look to continue to do better against opponent return teams. Field position shouldn't be too big of a deal in this game, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs get a big return from Smith in this game.

When it comes right down to it, barring the Bucs having a blow-up, they should be able to beat up on the 0-10 Lions. The only concern I have is that the Lions don't have anything to lose and will pull out every stop. I think the Bucs will be ready for them after what happened with the Chiefs. I see a big win in this game.

Bucs 27 Lions 10


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