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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections |  Projections by Team | Game Predictions Summary

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE * MIN at SD * SEA at SF
* ATL at CHI * DAL at NYJ * NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
* BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL * NE at MIA (mon)
*updated CAR at ARI * IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

Prediction: DET 20, TB 25

Players to Watch: Jahvid Best, Jerome Harrison, Arrelious Benn

These are two teams on the rise and this should be a good game. The Lions won their first road game of 2010 when they beat the Buccaneers 23-20 in Tampa Bay. That will not be lost on the Buccaneers and actually, the Lions have been on a winning streak since that game last year including the preseason. Time for the Bucs to revert to natural order.

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB - 10 @CHI -
2 KC - 11 CAR -
3 @MIN - 12 GB -
4 @DAL - 13 @NO -
5 CHI - 14 MIN -
6 SF - 15 @OAK -
7 ATL - 16 SD -
8 @DEN - 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 210,1
RB

Jahvid Best

60,1 30 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 30 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 90,1 -
WR Titus Young - 20 -
WR Nate Burleson - 50 -
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Lions welcome back Matt Stafford (again) and while the team tried to upgrade the tailbacks with the NFL draft, Mikel LeShoure never made it out of training camp and is now on IR. Seems early for a team that usually waits two weeks before that sort of thing happens. Stafford has a golden chance to have a big year but will have to remain healthy to get there. What will be interesting too is that the Lions are building one of the best defensive lines in the league. That will make a difference.

QUARTERBACK: Matthew Stafford enters his third season though he only has 13 games played so far thanks to being injured more often than not. This is his year - he has plenty of weapons to use and just needs to remain upright on the field in order to realize his potential. Because three years in a row usually signals throwing in the towel. The schedule is not that tough and Stafford could really surprise.

Drew Stanton passed for 252 yards and one score in Tampa Bay last year.

RUNNING BACKS: The rookie Jahvid Best scored twice in his first two games of 2010 and then never again as a rusher. Best played all 16 games but was hindered by a turf toe injury that lasted virtually the entire season. He's better now and ready to make good on what he started. The Lions had to run out and replace the rookie Mikel LeShoure and found only Jerome Harrison. But Harrison has won the #2 role from Maurice Morris and his role will be significant if Best is injured again. It may be anyway but only game time will tell. Best is not going to last if given 20+ carries per week.

Best only gained 12 yards on six runs in Tampa Bay last year but Maurice Morris gained 109 yards and a score on 15 carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Lions did not acquire any new receivers to challenge Calvin Johnson so expect yet another year of Megatron siphoning up passes. He comes of 77 catches for 1120 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Nate Burleson chipped in 625 yards and six scores in his first season in Detroit but could end up with better stats if Stafford stays healthy. The defenses all key on Johnson and Burleson has been as good as 1006 yards and nine scores back in Minnesota. The opportunity is there for Burleson to take the next step up.

The rookie Titus Young has impressed enough in camp to merit some playing time but he remains a work in progress learning the game. He could be the one to watch next year.

Johnson collected ten passes for 152 yards against the Bucs last year. Burleson scored once but on other wideout had more than 28 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: The Lions got a big year out of Brandon Pettigrew when he had 71 catches for 722 yards and four scores ranking second on the team in receptions. But what remains to be seen is how Stafford will use him because in limited play last year Pettigrew only got two or three passes per game.

Pettigrew was held to 25 yards on two catches in Tampa Bay last year.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DET 9 21 18 9 17 8
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 7 21 9 12 3 7


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 DET - 10 HOU -
2 @MIN - 11 @GB -
3 ATL - 12 @TEN -
4 IND - 13 CAR -
5 @SF - 14 @JAC -
6 NO - 15 DAL -
7 CHI - 16 @CAR -
8 Bye - 17 @ATL -
9 @NO -      
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman 30 - 250,1
RB LeGarrette Blount 90,1 10 -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 40 -
WR Mike Williams - 80,1 -
WR Dezmon Briscoe - 40 -
WR Arrelious Benn - 60 -
PK Conner Barth 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers return the same team, coaches and scheme from 2010 and there are reasons to think they will be better yet again. Josh Freeman is turning into a very good quarterback, Mike Williams has already had a break out season and LeGarrette Blount has not punched anyone in the kisser in a long time. Dezmon Briscoe even offers more depth at the wideout spot.

QUARTERBACK: In just his second season, Josh Freeman passed for 3451 yards and 25 touchdowns against only six interceptions last year. That's astounding and makes this year even more optimistic since the players will all be one year better and more experienced with each other and the offense. He's been sort of a poor man's Michael Vick but he's already buried what Vick actually did in his second season, particularly as a passer.

Freeman passed for 251 yards and one score against the Lions last year.

RUNNING BACKS: The Buccaneers found a diamond in the rough when they picked up LeGarrette Blount on waivers from the Titans last year. All the undrafted runner did was to gain 1007 yards despite not really playing until week seven. He still has room to grow as a receiver and yet his 5.0 YPC says he going to be a factor no matter what happens on third downs. The Buccaneers let Carnell Williams finally leave which only assures Blount of being one of the rare heavy-use workhorse backs in the league.

Blount rushed for 110 yards and one score on 15 carries against the Lions last season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mike Williams needed no time to break out in the NFL. As a rookie, he caught 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He only had one game over 100 yards but was consistently turning in 50-60 yard games or more each week with ten different games producing a touchdown. And that was as a rookie on a team that had no expectations. Williams was taken with the Bucs 4.03 pick last year. Don't forget - Arrelious Benn went with their 2.07 pick as the fourth wideout drafted. Benn was a slower starter than Williams and tore his ACL in December. That is healed now and Benn has been impressing in camp and is ready to resume being the #2 in this offense. He bears watching on this surprising team. Dezmon Briscoe played well in his place during camp but will slide back down the depth chart with Benn healthy again. Sammie Stroughter is getting lost in the shuffle.

Williams lead all receivers with six catches for 96 yards and one score against the Lions.

TIGHT ENDS: Kellen Winslow Jr. caught four passes for 46 yards against the Lions last year. He comes off a rare offseason where he had no surgeries and says he feels better than he ever has. The Bucs are suddenly filling up with other options though and Winslow may not actually recall what having a good knee feels like.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 12 18 21 12 21 17
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 20 28 14 6 12 12

WEEK 1
2011
NO at GB (thu) CIN at CLE MIN at SD SEA at SF
ATL at CHI DAL at NYJ NYG at WAS TEN at JAC
BUF at KC DET at TB PHI at STL NE at MIA (mon)
  CAR at ARI IND at HOU PIT at BAL OAK at DEN (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t