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Bucs-Lions: Predictions, odds, how to watch Sunday’s game in Detroit

The Bucs are without Mike Evans for the first time since 2017, but Ndamukong Suh is back in Motown.
Bucs career receptions leader Mike Evans (left) won't be available to help quarterback Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at Detroit. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Bucs career receptions leader Mike Evans (left) won't be available to help quarterback Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at Detroit. [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Dec. 13, 2019

Here’s what you need to know about the Bucs’ bid for a fourth straight victory Sunday in Detroit:

Bucs-Lions TV, streaming options, odds, etc.

Time: 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Place: Ford Field, Detroit

TV: FOX (WTVT Tampa Bay)

Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth and Jennifer Hale

Streaming: NFL app (locally or with a Verizon subscription); NFL Game Pass (audio only); NFL Sunday Ticket (with a Sunday Ticket subscription).

Radio: 97.9 FM in Tampa Bay (Bucs radio affiliates can be found here).

Officiating assignment: Referee Adrian Hill (10 years).

Odds: The Bucs are favored by 3.5 points (over/under 46 points), per Caesars.

Related: MORE BUCS: The latest on the Buccaneers

Predictions

Trap game?

John Romano, columnist, @romano_tbtimes: Everything points to a Bucs victory. The Lions have lost 9-of-10, and have one of the worst past defenses in the NFL. They haven’t won a game since quarterback Matthew Stafford hurt his back a month ago. Meanwhile, the Bucs are looking like a team on a roll. It’s a no-brainer, right? Yes, except this has the feel of a trap game. Jameis Winston has a sore thumb and Mike Evans is out of the lineup. And the Lions aren’t quite as bad as they look. Before losing to the Vikings 20-7 last week, Detroit had been within 8 points of every team on the schedule. The Bucs will likely win, but don’t be surprised if this one goes haywire. Bucs 27-24.

This shouldn’t be close

Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer, @NFLStroud: The Lions are starting rookie David Blough, an undrafted rookie from Purdue. In addition to Marvin Jones, they may be without a couple starting offensive linemen. This is a team the Bucs should beat, even without Evans. There’s every indication Winston will play with his broken thumb, and if he’s as effective as he was passing the ball in the second half last Sunday against the Colts, this won’t be that close. Barring turnovers, the Bucs win by a touchdown. Bucs 24-17.

A clean game

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/Pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: Statistically, this game will feature two of the league’s three worst pass defenses in the game, but both units have shown improvement in recent weeks. Both teams will be without one of their top receiving weapons. The Bucs won’t have Mike Evans, and the Lions will be without No. 2 receiver Marvin Jones. The Bucs are looking for their fourth straight win, and the Lions have lost six straight, so these teams are going in very different directions. Give the edge to the Bucs. Expect Jameis Winston to have one of his cleanest games of the season. Bucs 28-24.

Road warriors

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: Winston has a fractured thumb. Evans, his No. 1 target, is out. Donovan Smith, the man in charge of protecting his blind side, is banged up. It might seem as if the Bucs are doomed, but this is actually a favorable matchup. The Lions pass defense ranks 25th in Football Outsiders’ efficiency ratings and 29th in pressure rate (25.9 percent), according to Sports Info Solutions. And interceptions? Detroit has picked off only five passes, tied for fewest in the league, and hasn’t picked off more than one in any game this season. A win Sunday in the Motor City would be Tampa Bay’s fifth road win, a total it has reached just six other times in franchise history, last doing so in 2016. Bucs 24-20.

Evans would sure come in handy

Mike Sherman, deputy editor | sports, @mikesherman: Jason Pierre-Paul’s win-out prediction is halfway home. The Lions are in shambles. Another Belichick assistant is flailing as a head coach. The Bucs are in position for a fourth straight win for the first time since Dec. 4, 2016, when they won 28-21 at San Diego. The only things that could mess this up are injuries and turnovers. ... Uh-oh. Bucs 24-21.

Storylines

Has Breshad Perriman’s time finally come? (Eduardo A. Encina)

Lions fans could see a different Ndamukong Suh (Rick Stroud)

Week 15 NFL picks (Mike Sherman)

Ryan Griffin is no longer the NFL’s Moonlight Graham (Rick Stroud)

• • •

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Lions

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