Week 1 pick – Lions at Bucs

It is finally here! Week 1 of the regular season. In less than 24 hours, we will know if what we saw in the preseason will carry over to the regular season. As a lifelong Lions fan, I have to admit, I have been in this situation before – fully drunk on the “Kool-aid” on the eve of the first game that actually means something. And make no mistake – for the Lions, this game means more than a week 1 game does for a New England Patriots team for example.

The Buccaneers were essentially knocked out of the playoffs by the Lions last season. The bucs are highly regarded as one of the playoff potential teams this year. Since it is unlikely (but not impossible) that the Lion nor Bucs will win their Respective divisions this year, they are basically fighting each other for a wild card spot. As a young team learning to win, and gaining the confidence that comes with winning games against good teams, the Lions need a win on the road against a bucs team that is supposed to beat them.
The 4 game win streak to end the season last year may have not proven anything, but it means that The lions are not going to be sneaking up on anyone anymore.

So when I look at week 1, I don’t factor in last years field goal winning game against the playoff hopefull bucs in Tampa to the extent that some do. While it matters a little, especially for the bucs (revenge?), this is a brand new season, and each team is looking forward in their approach. Each team was without key players last year. This season, both teams are relatively healthy where it counts. Most notable for Detroit, Matt Stafford’s return should help the Lions the most. Could you imagine how the bucs would have finished last year If they lost Josh Freeman in week 1? This in no way a knock on Shawn Hill, he is great back up and the Lions are lucky to have him.

I see the bucs and Lions as similar teams overall, on paper. But I believe a healthy Matt Stafford is the difference in this one game, and season. We need Stafford’s arm to make up for the problems we are currently seeing with the running game. I expect from things I have heard and seen that the Lions will be running a no-huddle Indy style read and react offense, as long as Stafford is under center. The Lions have shown the league a glimpse of this ability during the patriots game in the pre season. I know if was pre season, but my point is that teams always hold back 60-70% of what they will do in the regular season. This will be the first year that Stafford and the Lions will have the whole offensive playbook at their disposal.

So, with out further ado, here are my picks for week 1 and the season……

Week 1 – Lions 34 Bucs 30.
Season – 10-6 (playoffs will be possible depending how teams like the Bucs, Cowboys, Bears, and chiefs do – ironically, we play all of them in the first 6 games of the season)

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