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Strictly For The Geeks: Week 15

I hope I give all Bucs fans and anyone else all the knowledge they need about their opponent.

In their 10 losses, their margins of defeat have been 5, 3, 14, 2, 8, 3, 2, 16, 21 and 4. Their offense hasn’t had any crazier fluctuations than those: they’ve scored 0-9 once, 10-19 four times, 20-29 five times, 30-39 twice, and 40-49 once.

The Lions rank in takeaway/giveaway ratio is 11th in the NFL, their best since 2000. While they have 25 takeaways, – unfortunately for them – 17 of them have happened in 5 games, the other 8 in the other 8 games.

They are 4th in 4.33% sacks-per-attempt allowed, that’s a far cry from the Martz Era, when they gave up 63 and 54 sacks in back-to-back years.

That, and their overall health of their skill position players (Burleson, and Best have missed a combined 3 games) mean that the failure to outscore their opponents rests on either the defense, the offensive coordinator or the injury to Matt Stafford. Based on the games I’ve seen, it’s probably 65% defense, 33% OC Scott Linehan and 3% the injury to Matt Stafford. They’ve gotten decent play from their quarterbacks but in every game I’ve watched, they’ve gone away from what has worked and have not mixed things up to take advantage of Calvin Johnson’s size and speed. As much as Linehan has had his issues last year and this one, they have been more respectable than in years past. Despite having injuries to their top two quarterbacks, the Lions (including defense and special teams) have scored 21.9 points a game, ranking them 17th in scoring. Also, since week 1 when Stafford first had to leave, they’ve only dipped under 16 first downs twice – last week (15) and the week before (14).

Calvin Johnson missed Rookie of the Year honors, in part because he battled a back injury that lowered his stats. He, amazingly, has never been to a Pro Bowl despite tying with Larry Fitzgerald to lead the NFL in TDs in the notorious 0-16 season of 2008.

Due to injuries, Stefan Logan will get more carries. He is leading the NFL in kickoff returns with a 28.8 average and he had 4 carries for 44 yards against Green Bay Sunday.

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