LIONS INSIDER

OPPOSING VIEW: Buccaneers playing a lot better of late

Posted Nov 23, 2013

Tampa Tribune NFL and Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Ira Kaufman takes a look at Sunday's Lions, Bucs game

This week’s Opposing View comes from Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. Kaufman joined the Tribune in 1991 after 14 years with the United Press International. You can follow him on Twitter at @IKaufmanTBO

Lions players and coaches on offense say Tampa Bay might be the most talented defense they'll face all year. What makes them so good as a unit?

Kaufman: The Lions are correct. On paper, this is one of the more talented units in the league. Darrelle Revis is an elite corner, Lavonte Davis is one of the best young linebackers in football and some NFL observers believe Gerald McCoy is a better defensive tackle than Ndamukong Suh. The defense was stout in September, but eventually collapsed under the weight of being asked to do too much. Now, they are playing on a high level again. The major issue on defense has been an inability to hold fourth-quarter leads, until the Bucs shut down the Dolphins on Monday Night Football en route to their first win.

What kind of stability has rookie Mike Glennon brought to the quarterback position and is it one of the reasons were starting to see the wins come with this team?

Kaufman: Glennon has been better than anticipated. Coming out of North Carolina State as a third-round pick, he has looked poised and confident through seven starts. He has been picked off only four times in 248 pass attempts and his 62 percent completion rate dwarfs the awful performance of Josh Freeman. The offensive line and receivers are starting to believe in Glennon, who has yet to prove he is an accurate downfield passer.

One Bucs player Lions fans might not know who could make a big impact in the game?

Kaufman: Little Bobby Rainey was unknown until he broke through with a 163-yard rushing game against Atlanta last week, scoring three touchdowns. He has seized his opportunity after season-ending injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James and has literally run with it. He is charitably listed at 5-foot-8, but he’s strong and it’s difficult to get a square hit on him. Look for Rainey to get 25 touches on Sunday in his first road game as a Buccaneer.

Ndamukong Suh deflects any talk about there being a rivalry between he and Bucs DT Gerald McCoy. With McCoy selected after Suh in the 2010 draft, is there a bit of a rivalry on his end?

Kaufman: McCoy grimaced when the comparisons to Suh were brought up this week. They will always be linked together as back-to-back draft picks in 2010 and they are both effective in their respective ways. Suh is more powerful while McCoy relies more on quickness and burst off the snap. When McCoy was nursing biceps injuries in his first two NFL seasons, you could tell he was a little jealous of Suh’s success. Making the Pro Bowl last season gave him the confidence he can match Suh sack for sack at the pro level.

The Bucs will win if ...

Kaufman: For the Bucs to win Sunday, they have to score touchdowns rather than kick field goals when they reach the red zone. Detroit averages 32 points at home and Tampa Bay should have no illusions about winning this game 17-13. A key is whether 6-5 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay’s answer to Calvin Johnson, can exploit Detroit’s vulnerable secondary.