Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Countdown to Kickoff: Buccaneers-Lions, Week 6 2023 

In a battle between two division leaders, the Buccaneers and Lions will face-off in Week Six … Key stats, lineup notes and more

other one!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a Week Six clash that pits two division leaders against one another. The meeting will kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET after being flexed to a later time slot at Raymond James Stadium. The 3-1 Bucs will take on the 4-1 Lions following an early bye week and allotted rest period. With an opportunistic defense and an offense hitting its stride, the Bucs took sole ownership of the NFC South with a rousing 26-9 victory over the division nemesis New Orleans Saints in Week Four. Baker Mayfield has energized the offense in Tampa Bay with a fiery demeanor on the field and third-down prowess that sustains drives. The Lions have four-plus wins through five games for the first time since 2011 and are in first place of the NFC North. They have a two-game lead over the second-place Green Bay Packers. Jared Goff ranks in the top-10 in completion percentage (69.8), passing yards (1,265) and passing touchdowns (9) in 2023. He has found chemistry with rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, who leads the position group with 289 receiving yards this season. On the opposite side of the ball, the Lions' reinvigorated run defense has imposed their will, forcing opposing teams to become one-dimensional. Detroit's prized possession is Aidan Hutchinson, who already has 4.5 sacks this season. Sunday's stellar matchup will also draw a sense of nostalgia, as the Buccaneers will don a reimagined take on the classic 'Creamsicle' uniforms in a blast from the past. After a week of preparation, here is what the Week Six contest comes down to:

4 Stats That Matter

  • Baker Mayfield has a career-high 101.5 passer rating in 2023 (eighth among qualified quarterbacks). Mayfield's previous career-high passer rating was 95.9 in 2020 with Cleveland. In addition, Mayfield leads the NFL in completion percentage (79.5) and passer rating (140.7) on third down in 2023. His passer rating on third down is the second-highest in a single season since at least 1991 (minimum of 30 attempts), behind only Hall of Famer Steve Young in 1994.
  • The Lions and 49ers are the only two teams in the NFL to rank top-six in total offense and defense in 2023. Detroit is allowing 292.8 total yards per game in 2023 (sixth in the NFL) after allowing a league-worst 392.4 total yards per game in 2022.
  • The Lions are third in the NFL in allowing only 3.3 yards per carry in 2023. Detroit is the only team in the NFL to have not allowed a team to reach the 100-rush yard marker in 2023.
  • Detroit has six players with 200-plus scrimmage yards in 2023 (most in the NFL), featuring running back David Montgomery (418), wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (335), wide receiver Josh Reynolds (291), tight end Sam LaPorta (289), running back Jahmyr Gibbs (249) and receiver Kalif Raymond (215).

3 Lineup Notes

  • The hamstring injury that sidelined receiver Mike Evans for the second half of Tampa Bay's Week Four victory over New Orleans will not deter him from the Week Six clash against Detroit, largely due to the early-slotted bye week. In addition, safety Ryan Neal, who suffered a concussion on the second play against the Saints, will suit up against the Lions on Sunday.
  • Rookie defensive lineman Calijah Kancey, the Bucs' first-round draft pick, will return on Sunday after missing three games due to a calf injury. Kancey played 11 snaps in Week One and will bolster the interior of Tampa Bay's front against the Lions' stout O-Line. Rookie linebacker SirVocea Dennis, who was also injured in a Week One win at Minnesota (hamstring), has been cleared to play. Cornerback Jamel Dean will reassume his starting cornerback spot after missing the club's Week Four matchup due to a neck/shoulder injury.
  • On Friday, the Lions released their final injury report ahead of the matchup against Tampa Bay including several cornerstone players with designations. Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs was ruled out due to a hamstring injury and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta was listed as questionable due to a calf strain. In addition, Brian Branch (ankle), Jonah Jackson (ankle), Zonovan Knight (shoulder), James Mitchell (hamstring), Emmanuel Moseley (knee) and Josh Paschal (knee) were all ruled out.

2 Challenges Presented by the Lions

Detroit boasts a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense heading into Week Six. The Lions rank sixth in total offense, averaging 384.4 yards per game. The unit ranks in the top-10 in both rushing (seventh) and passing (ninth). Innovative Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson has reconstructed the offense since he arrived in 2022 and has morphed it into one of the NFL's most esteemed sequential play-callers. He installed a scheme that utilizes condensed, tight-bunch formations to generate space for receivers and Johnson cultivated a diverse rushing attack that Is not predicated on play-action but accentuates it. Their gap-based scheme uses a heavy dose of duo, counters, power and traps, but Detroit still utilizes outside and inside zone to set up explosives downfield. Their offense attacks matchups and keeps defenses on their heels. In their bunch formations, the Lions take advantage of numbers in space. From the condensed sets, receivers have a two-way go or several options. They can go outside, vertical or angular, which provides more room following the release. So, the defense in response, has to have a player with outside leverage, inside/over the top leverage and another defender underneath to combat the package. They have a variety of weapons including David Montgomery, Sam LaPorta and Amon-Ra St.Brown. Montgomery is an instinctive runner that creates yardage with footwork, contact balance and power. LaPorta switches the tempo of his routes like a full-blown receiver and is tough to tackle when he gets a head of steam. St. Brown does it all, from lining up in the slot to operating as a tailback. He is slippery in the open field and has smooth acceleration at the route stem.

Defensively, Detroit ranked last in yards allowed last year and 30th in points allowed but with the infusion of second-year edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson leading the charge and dynamic nickel corner Brian Branch in the secondary, the club currently ranks sixth and 15th in the aforementioned categories. It all starts with the run defense. The Lions have faced several premier running backs in 2023 including Bijan Robinson and Aaron Jones, and through the first five games, they have allowed an average of just 68.4 yards per game on the ground. No rusher has eclipsed the 100-yard marker against the Lions this season as the group continues to stay disciplined in run fits and flies to the ball with an aggressive mentality. Hutchinson has 4.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one interception and four passes defensed in 2023. He also has 29 quarterback pressures, tied for second-most in the NFL behind only Micah Parsons. Hutchinson is a natural quarterback hunter and has the lateral explosiveness to knife through gaps to make critical plays as a run defender. His inside counter move devastates and his get-off often overwhelms, leaving tackles staggering to recover.

1 Key Thought from Dave Canales

On the progress of Tampa Bay's ground game:

"I know one thing I shared with our guys, with our group, which I don't mind sharing with all of you is [that] there's going to be a game – in Seattle, it was different groups over different years – but there's going to be a game that is kind of like a statement game, where it all comes together, [where] the run game is hitting, the [play-] actions are there, not that you're perfect, you know? Known pass situations are crisp, the red zone passes are on time, all those things…there's a game that that happens and that's what we're striving for – for that game to come together for us, but at the same time, knowing while we're figuring things out, do we have enough offense to gain yards and make first downs? The Saints game was just one of those things – what are they giving us that we can take advantage of to just get a new set of downs so we can get a few more runs [and] so that we can take some shots? Things like that – trying harder for first downs."

Related Content

Latest Headlines