Detroit vs Tampa Bay: NFL playoff game features Lions-Bucs rematch from regular season

Can the Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Buccaneers? 

Sports pundits certainly think so, as do the betting lines. And one can bet the fans are definitely on board. Even ESPN Analytics is siding with the home team, which has given Detroit a 62.5% chance of winning their divisional playoff game. 

Whether the team will win will be a question that persists right up until kickoff this Sunday. If you're wondering how to watch the game, a guide can be found here.

One indication of how Detroit will approach Tampa Bay is by looking at their previous match-up back in October.

Lions vs Bucs last October

The Lions won the away game handily, and did so with injuries to its two star running backs in Dave Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, the former of the two hurting his ribs in the second quarter. 

That meant head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson needed quarterback Jared Goff to be at his best - and he delivered with 353 yards through the air. Amon-Ra St. Brown caught a third of those yards, as well as two touchdowns.

But it wasn't just Goff who came through last Oct. 15; Detroit's defense was also stout when it held the Bucs' quarterback Baker Mayfield to 206 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Tampa Bay only managed two field goals..

Winners of the NFC South who took care of the Philadelphia Eagles in the wildcard game, the Bucs have been on a roll for the last part of the regular season. They won five of their last six games on their way to earning a spot in the playoffs.

Mayfield had the best season of his career this year, throwing for 4,044 yards, while receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each recorded more than a thousand yards through the air. Rachaad White, the team's runningback, has also been effective on the ground.

For Detroit to win, they'll need to keep an eye on the ever-worrying deep threat their defense has struggled to defend. They did that against Tampa Bay in October, keeping Mayfield from finding much rhythm. 

The longest pass he completed was 26 yards. 


Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Things to do this weekend in celebration of playoff game

The Detroit Lions take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field. Here are some ways to tailgate, watch the game, and more:

Ford Field home advantage

The playoffs bring a different kind of intensity that regular season games lack. 

There's no resting of starters and teams that are in sync with one another can defeat higher-seeded opponents if they game plan correctly. Tampa Bay won't want Goff passing as effectively as he did last time, which could mean a different Buccaneers team playing in Detroit.

But the second game is also different because of where it's being played.

Ford Field has been a factor the entire year, acting almost like a 12th player and disrupting opposing offenses. The noise level from fans last Sunday is partly why Los Angeles burned two crucial timeouts in the second half of the game, leaving them with no way to keep Detroit from running out the clock.

Fans will only be more excited to see their Lions return to action for an unprecedented second home playoff game they'll host this season. 


Ford Field bag policy: What's allowed at Detroit Lions playoff game vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Headed to the Detroit Lions game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend? Here's what's allowed in Ford Field and what you can't have:

NFL Playoff experience

Detroit may have the higher seed and a better record, but Tampa Bay has more experience in the playoffs.

This year marks the team's fourth playoff run in a row. Granted, Tom Brady was the quarterback during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 campaigns, including the team's SuperBowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

While Tampa Bay's offense looks very different from last season, it did return several players on the defensive side. 

Detroit brought CJ Gardner-Johnson into their backfield partly because of his experience in the playoffs, including last year's run by the Eagles, who lost in the SuperBowl last year. The added help, as well as his effectiveness as a safety could serve Detroit well when they take the field. 


Crying Lions fan's connection to Detroit's football team runs deep

When the Lions had done enough to win their first playoff game, cameras turned to Arron Wikaryasz, who had tears streaming down his face. The story of those tears, was about more than a victory.