| The Detroit News
Justin Rogers, Rod Beard, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of Saturday’s Buccaneers at Lions game (1 p.m., NFL Network/WJR 760).
►Justin Rogers: COVID had a final surprise for the Lions before the clock ran out on 2020, knocking out a huge chunk of the team’s coaching staff ahead of a matchup against a Tom Brady-led Buccaneers team looking to clinch a postseason spot. A win with this setup would be on par with the Jets’ upset of the Rams a week ago and is not a bet we’d advise making. Buccaneers 30, Lions 17
►Rod Beard: The Lions are going through a rough week with COVID protocols, which makes it that much tougher to focus on the opponent — and it’s a big-time challenge for the defense. Tom Brady has looked better than many expected this season and the Bucs’ offense is salivating at the chance to carve up holiday leftovers against the Lions’ defense. The big gift may be another loss and getting closer to a better draft pick. Buccaneers 38, Lions 21
►John Niyo: Last year, Jameis Winston passed for 458 yards and four touchdowns in a runaway Week 15 win. Now it’s Tom Brady at quarterback, and the Bucs have even more to play for with a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Coaching chaos won’t help Matthew Stafford & Co., but I’m not sure it’ll matter. Buccaneers 38, Lions 17
►Bob Wojnowski: A mismatch probably got more mismatched with the Lions short-handed everywhere, even on the sideline with Darrell Bevell and several assistant coaches sidelined for COVID-related reasons. Tom Brady and the Bucs’ bunch of dangerous receivers should have their share of fun. But Tampa Bay’s defense is a big problem too, ranked No. 1 against the run, with a guy named Suh part of it. Maybe the Lions get some sort of energy burst from the bizarre circumstances, and maybe D’Andre Swift finds a little running room. And who knows, maybe the special teams execute a surprise fake punt. Anything is possible this year, but this looks like a fairly impossible challenge. Buccaneers 31, Lions 13