It’s not a great situation when you are fighting for playoff position, having made it to the post-season last year, and you might have to go the rest of the way with your quarterback either out of the game or not 100%. But that is the position the Detroit Lions find themselves in, as they get ready for a Sunday encounter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which will begin at 1 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium. This game will be televised by Fox Network on a regional basis, and VietBetcustomers will have the opportunity to place wagers after the opening kickoff as they take advantage of what is available through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
The Lions felt confident going into last weekend’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, another team fighting for playoff position, but they really just came up flat. They were behind 20-0 at the half, then made a bit of a comeback in the third quarter but faded in the final stanza, as Baltimore scored 24 points to salt away a 44-20 victory. Stafford threw an interception in the fourth quarter and then had his throwing hand stepped on by Terrell Suggs. That took him out of the ball game, and his substitute, Jake Rudock, tossed a pick-six to put some icing on the cake for the Ravens.
They took an MRI that determined that there were no broken bones in Stafford’s hand, but Stafford was feeling a lot of pain anyway, relating it to possible nerve damage. So it is no certainty that he’ll be in the lineup on Sunday. At the same time, you know that if he can’t get out there in any way that even approaches his form. He is always going to be the better alternative. If you recall last season, Stafford broke a finger, and continued playing, although not at the level he had been at before. The Lions slumped down the stretch, and even though they made the playoffs, they were blown out in the first-round by Seattle.
In the odds at VietBet upon which will make our NFL picks for Sunday,the Liosn are likely to be favored by at least a couple of points if Stafford makes post, but the Bucs might actually wind up the small home favorite with Rudock in the saddle.
The Buccaneers had James Winston in the lineup for them last week, and he threw for 270 yards without an interception, but this was not enough to defeat the Green Bay Packers, who scored a dramatic 26-20 win in overtime. Tampa Bay had overcome a 10-point deficit to go ahead in the late going, but Green Bay tied it with a feel goal and then Erin Jones ran it in from 20 yards out for the clincher in the extra session. Tampa Bay was not exactly burned by Brett Hundley, who had three touchdown passes the week before against Pittsburgh; in fact, they held them to just 84 yards through the air, but they failed miserably on two fronts. First, they allowed Winston to be sacked seven times, and second, they allowed 199 yards on the ground to a team that was struggling mightily in terms of running the football. So that’s an area this team has to work on. Easier said than done. The Bucs’ offense did a pretty good job converting on third down (nine out of 16), but they remain the NFL’s worst when it comes to defending in third-down situations, allowing 48.5% success.
Meanwhile, VietBet patrons know that the prospect of Detroit moving forward without Stafford is a scary one, because they have not exactly had a balanced offense this season. In fact, there is only one team in the NFL that runs for less yardage per game (the Arizona Cardinals).And since this team passes the ball almost 63% of the time, you have to wonder how the game plan would be affected with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm. The Bucs are obviously out of the playoff race at the moment (4-8 straight-up, 3-8-1 against the football pointspread), but Detroit still holds onto some playoff hopes, even though they trail two teams at 8-4 (Carolina and Seattle) for wild-card spots. The Lions, along with Green Bay and Dallas, are 6-6 on the season (5-6-1 ATS).
If Stafford is able to throw, we don’t see any reason the Lions shouldn’t be able to grab a road victory here, considering they have registered four wins away from home this season. But remember that Tampa Bay is returning to its own field after three games out of town, and they appeared to get a little something out of the ground attack last week (165 yards) so we wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger with them if Rudock had to get the start.
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