First: apologies. This is not, in fact, a Watchtower. The runup to Christmas--as well as my ambition in cranking out the offensive piece and the Jahvid Best in the past few days--has left me without a Watchtower to present to you.
Much like the Rams, the Bucs hold a mirror up to the Lions: what if the Lions had brought in a Tampa 2 coach, like Leslie Frazier, and made evolutionary, rather than evolutionary, changes? The Buccaneers drafted Josh Freeman--a quarterback I'd championed as a possibility for the Lions two years ago--and, of course, the "other" monster DT available in this draft, Gerald McCoy. Much ink has been spilled along those lines, so I won't tip over another barrel--but in many ways, the Bucs represent an "alternate reality" version of the Lions.
At an even 20.0 points per game, the Bucs' scoring offense is ranked 22nd in the NFL. The Lions' defense is about it's equal, ranked 23rd and allowing 23.8 points per game. It sounds reasonabale to split the difference: 20-23 points for the Bucs.
On the other side of the ball, the Lions are the 17th-ranked offense, scoring 21.9 points per game. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are allowing 20.5 points per game, good for 13th-best in the NFL. If we split the difference, that's . . . 19-22 points.
Without any systemic advantages to guide us, and with rashes of injuries to both teams, I'm left with a 17-20 Lions loss.. I know the Lions are circling this date as the date the snap the road losing streak--but that losing streak is a mighty dragon, and I don't have enough data to say the Lions will slay it.