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O'HARA'S WEEK 15 CHECKLIST: Lions vs. Buccaneers

David Blough is learning to expect to see something new every week as the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback.

Week 3 of Blough's continuing education will bring a fresh challenge from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's game at Ford Field.

After facing the overall strength of the Chicago Bears' defense in his first start and the Minnesota Vikings' pass rush last week, the Lions' offense goes against a Bucs' defense ranked No. 1 against the run and 31st against the pass.

It seems like a simple choice – avoid the opponent's strength and attack the weakness – but Blough has learned not to count on what an opponent has done from week to week against other teams.

The Bucs will focus in on the Lions – not what they did last week against the Colts or the previous week against the Jaguars.

"I think what I've kind of learned is, a lot of coaches take and they'll definitely watch Minnesota and see what we struggled with," Blough said. "They'll watch Chicago and see what I struggled with, and that'll be in going forward.

"As a player, you can't make the same mistake twice. You get better, and you learn from it and you move on. And I think that's what I can work on going forward."

There are two sides to the coin – the Bucs' planning for the Lions, and the Lions crafting a game plan to exploit cracks in the Bucs' defense in order to end their six-game losing streak.

The mental aspect of the game is part of the fun of playing quarterback. Obviously, the scheme differs from what the Lions would have done with Matthew Stafford at quarterback and having a healthy supporting cast.

"When we cut the tape on, we look for things that we can go after, just like they do," Blough said. "They're sitting over there trying to stump us while we're trying to do the same thing.

"I think that's what makes this level of the game so fun to be a part of. And some of the best minds – I like being around those guys. We're going to have a great plan and be ready to give them everything we've got."

Sack match: The Lions have to account for outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who leads the NFL with 15.5 sacks and had a big game in last week's win over the Colts. Barrett had a sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. Barrett is having a breakout year in his first season with the Bucs. He had 14 sacks in the last four years with Denver.

Series history: The Lions have a 31-28 series lead in the regular season and have won four of the last five games. The Bucs won the only playoff game, in 1997. The Lions won the last meeting, 24-21, in 2017.

2017 Game Rewind: Matt Prater's 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds left gave the Lions a 24-21 victory. Jameis Winston threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to make it 21-21. The Lions intercepted two passes, recovered three fumbles and had three sacks.

Bucs focus – Suh: Ndamukong Suh has has been on the move of late. The Bucs are his third team in three years, and his position with the Bucs is listed as "defensive lineman," not nose tackle or defensive tackle like when he played for the Lions (2010-14), Dolphins (2015-17) and Rams (2018).

One thing hasn't changed. Suh, who turns 33 on Jan. 7, is still a powerful force as a run defender.

The Bucs rank first in the NFL against the run, allowing an average of 75.5 yards per game. That's the lowest average for any team since 2014, when Suh anchored the Lions' defense that allowed a league-low 69.3 yards per game.

"Suh's incredible," said Lions center Frank Ragnow. "He's been a good player in this league for a long time. I have a lot of respect for him. Plays hard. Freaky athleticism. He's definitely an impact player on that defense.

"That front seven in general is very, very talented. A lot of good guys up front that let those fast linebackers run free."

Suh isn't the only Bucs lineman the Lions have to contend with. Vita Vea, the Bucs' 347-pound nose tackle, has been a dominating player on the interior.

"He has a tremendous combination of size and athleticism," Ragnow said. "And he flashes. He's that big, and he's athletic."

Suh isn't the same player he was when he began his career with the Lions, who drafted him second overall in 2010. He made the Pro Bowl four times and was first-team All Pro three times as a Lion. He's made only one Pro Bowl since – in 2016 with the Dolphins.

Ragnow faced Suh last year when he was with the Rams.

"I didn't get a chance to play him way back when, but last year I remember – strong, strong," Ragnow said. "Very explosive. And he has a switch that he turns on that I think he can do what he wants on the field.

"That's a big compliment."

Prediction: Winston has thrown a league-high 23 interceptions, and he's been sacked 41 times, the third most in the league. Those two stats give the Lions a chance to end their losing streak.

Pick: Lions 19, Bucs 17.

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