With Sunday fast approaching, predictions have been made and analysis already long in the works, it's time to discuss the Detroit Lions players who must ball out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It won't be an easy win, and may not be a win at all, but if these three ball out it will be a good day in Motown.
Detroit Lions players that NEED to ball out on Sunday
There are plenty of different ways that this could go. The usual suspects are always going to be there like Jared Goff, Aidan Hutchinson, and others. But for this game, with how uncomfortable it really feels, there are going to be some unsung heroes that step up to make the difference in a matchup that if not taken seriously will not go well.
Jameson Williams – WR
Look, we have already discussed the patience that is going to be needed for Jamo. The kid just simply hasn't had enough snaps to label him anything. Sure, he had a bad drop last week against the Panthers. But, did you notice the great job he did unselfishly blocking numerous times throughout that game? Let's hope so.
The Lions need Jamo to be effective. His target share needs to increase. The kid has only 106 snaps in his entire career and in those 106 snaps, he's only been targeted 12 times. It would go a long way to get Jamo more targets this week against a defense that is down a few secondary players. His game-changing speed makes his effectiveness that much more necessary. By stretching the defense he opens lanes for other receivers and even the running game, with the Lions boasting a near 50/50 in run-pass playing calling. If Jamo balls out, the Lions will win.
Riley Patterson – K
Okay, before we freak out that a kicker was added here, let's hear the reasoning. As we have discussed, this matchup is an uncomfortable one. The Bucs have been a surprise this season with the play of Baker Mayfield and their defense being their strength. That is going to put a premium on a clean game in all facets. Enter Riley Patterson.
So far on the season, Patterson has been perfect. He's 19/19 in PATs and 5/5 on field goals attempted. This absolutely must continue on Sunday. The Lions aren't going to be able to afford mistakes on Sunday, which includes getting points when they're expected to get points. They'll need to cash in on every drive they have, even if that means getting field goals to up the score by three. It would be unideal for every drive to end in a field goal attempt, but when they do Patterson must cash in.
Alex Anzalone – LB
Anzalone should be playing with a clear mind this week. We are so thankful that his parents are safe and on their way home. With that resolved, Alex can play Sunday with a free and clear heart and mind. His leadership of our defense is going to be a major point of focus on Sunday.
Anzalone has been much better this season through five games than he was last season. His coverage could still use some work, but he's getting after it in the box. He was the leading tackler for the game against the Panthers and will need to show out on Sunday to keep the fightin' Baker Mayfield's at bay and let Jared Goff & Co. work their magic.
The Bottom line
The Detroit Lions will head to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday looking for their fourth win in a row. They do rank better in many categories than the Bucs, but it's close in a lot of areas. Specifically, their defense, which is the biggest worry. Not to mention not knowing which Baker Mayfield will show up on Sunday. But, if the three players here ball out, the Lions will be celebrating again in the locker room and we'll be enjoying another Victory Monday.