Buccaneers hope to crash Detroit's playoff party
The Lions' historic playoff run continues Sunday with what should be a winnable game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Why it matters: Detroit's only two wins away from the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
State of play: The Lions will have to put Sunday's nerve-wracking triumph over the Rams behind them and focus on a lesser opponent.
- The game kicks off at 3pm at Ford Field and will be on NBC.
Between the Lions: With a victory, Detroit will play the Green Bay-San Francisco winner in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 28.
- The Lions would host the Packers with a win and if Green Bay pulls off the upset. Otherwise, Detroit would travel to the Bay Area to take on the No. 1 seed 49ers.
Threat level: Vegas expects the Lions to win by 6.5 points — but they can't afford to overlook any team with their near-nonexistent playoff history.
Quick take: The Bucs upset the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday to get here. Tampa Bay is led by former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield. He's no Tom Brady, but the journeyman quarterback has rediscovered his moxie.
- Wide receiver Mike Evans has 13 touchdowns this season. Covering him will be a tough assignment for Detroit's vulnerable pass defense.
Yes, but: Detroit's offense will be the best unit on the field and should be able to put up lots of points.
- The home-field crowd — so loud that it got NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's attention — is sure to give the defense a boost.
The other side: 👋 Axios Tampa Bay editor Jeff Weiner here. This team is different from the one the Lions faced in October, confident and bolstered by a youth movement while still benefiting from its Brady-era playoff experience. The Lions look past Tampa Bay at their peril.
💭 Joe's thought bubble: Tom Brady is not walking through that door. Tampa's toast.
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