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NFL Week 16: Buccaneers vs. Lions odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

December 23rd, 2020

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue their bid for playoff positioning this weekend with a road trip to Detroit to face the Lions. In this Week 16 matchup, the Tom Brady-led Bucs are favored by four points.

Sat, December 26 2020, 6:00 PM

Detroit Lions

Moneyline

+325

Spread

+4

Total

O 49

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Moneyline

-435

Spread

-4

Total

U 49

Does motivation impact the spread?

With the Lions having just seen their playoff hopes officially eliminated, and the Bucs still pursuing a playoff spot and a potential division title, these are two teams heading in very different directions. It seems early bettors are weighing that into the spread, as the line originally opened at Bucs -8 and has seen early money come in on the favorite.

While Tampa Bay is 9-5 straight up, the Bucs are just 7-7 against the spread. Detroit is 5-9 straight up, and 6-8 ATS.

Comparing the quarterbacks

While Tom Brady is known by many as the greatest of all time, it is obvious he is on the downside of his career. His 2% interception rate is the highest since his 2011 season, and he lacks the arm strength to truly stretch the field like in years gone by. Brady has a great number of weapons to utilize in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs are still just 18th in the NFL in pass yards per attempt.

Matt Stafford, meanwhile, has his team 12th in yards per pass attempt despite significantly less talent around him. Stafford is battling injured ribs, but showed tremendous grit last week to take the field behind center, Frank Ragnow, who was playing with a fractured throat. As if that weren't bad enough, his offensive line is banged up at four of five positions, and his best receiver, Kenny Golladay, is likely done for the year.

Stafford does more with significantly less, but he still has the gunslinger attitude that can keep his team in games and fighting until the end.

Will the Bucs cover the spread against the Lions in Week 16?

Underestimate the Lions at your own peril

The Lions' defense in 2020 has been atrocious, and is arguably the worst in the league. The offense is banged up, and the Lions have very little to play for in a season that has seen their head coach fired and their playoff winless streak extended.

For any average NFL analyst, it seems like a no-brainer that the Bucs will not only win, but win easily. But look closer, and you can see signs that the Lions could make things difficult for Tampa Bay. The Bucs have a banged up secondary, and they are facing a quarterback that can take advantage of new players on the field. If Bucs safety Antoine Winfield and cornerback Carlton Davis have to miss the game with the injuries or are not 100%, Stafford come flying through the backdoor in the fourth quarter.

On the heels of the Jets beating the Rams, and the Bengals beating the Steelers, don’t forget that teams with nothing to play for in the NFL are still composed of professional players putting in tremendous effort for pride and future contracts.

Score prediction: Bucs 31, Lions 28

NFL pick: Lions +4


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