They’re not a myth. They exist, they’re dangerous, and they typically occur in college football. So what are “trap games“? I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re the Florida Gators football team, and you’ve won a few games in a row. You’re gaining confidence and momentum for the season. You have a big showdown with LSU in “Death Valley” next week that you’re looking forward to, but this week, you have Georgia Southern coming to “The Swamp” for a “nice, easy, warm-up game”. You get cocky, overlook this week’s opponent and end up getting beat and losing your shot at a National Championship.
THAT is a trap game.
As I said, they’re a fairly common occurrence in college football, but every now and then they can happen in the NFL, and that’s what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have this week with their game against the Detroit Lions. The Bucs are coming off of a hard-fought win against a solid Indianapolis Colts team, their third in a row and fourth in their last five games. They’re gaining confidence and momentum to finish this season, and they have a big showdown with the AFC South-leading Houston Texans at Raymond James Stadium next week. But this week, they have a “nice, easy, warm-up game” against the struggling Lions.
IT’S A TRAP GAME!
After starting this season 2-0-1, the Lions have now lost six straight, and eight of their last nine games, they’re now 3-9-1 and battling a serious injury bug. Quarterback Matt Stafford went down after Week 9 with a fractured back and hasn’t returned since. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskell was announced the starter in Week 10, but he soon ended up on IR with a hamstring injury. Since Week 13, third-string quarterback David Blough has been the starter, and he is who the Bucs young defense will be facing today
In his 2 games, he has completed 59% of his passes for 485 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Somehow, they have the 7th ranked passing offense in the league, despite their quarterback issues, which could provide a challenge for the Bucs young secondary. However, they are catching a break now that Detroit has placed their second-leading receiver Marvin Jones Jr. on IR for the rest of the season.
The Lions have been decimated by injuries this year with a number of their offensive starters out for the season. Running back Kerryon Johnson and tight end T.J. Hockensen were both put on IR as well. In addition to them, the Lions have declared five more starters out for this game against Tampa, including quarterback Matt Stafford, left guard Joe Dahl, right tackle Rick Wagner, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, and linebacker Jarrad Davis. Even running back Bo Scarborough is questionable for this game.
The Bucs had an unfortunate injury of their own losing wide receiver Mike Evans for these last 3 games with a hamstring strain. But since the Bucs 2nd ranked passing offense is going up against the Lions 29th ranked defense with the 30th ranked passing defense, they should be okay without him.
The Bucs are hot and the Lions are not.
One of the best offenses in the league against one of the worst defenses in the league. The Lions are starting their third-string quarterback. Shaq Barrett is going up against a second-year backup right tackle. Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh are going up against a backup left guard. The Lions are down two of their stars up the middle of their defense. This has the makings of being a blowout in favor of Tampa.
If you’re smart, then that scares you. If you’re a long-time Bucs fan, then that worries you.
Seven of the Lions nine losses have been by one score or less. The only team to beat them by more than one score were the Minnesota Vikings in both games. The first by a score of 42-30 and the second meeting 20-7 just last week. The Bucs have a history of allowing backup and inexperienced quarterbacks to throw all over them. And the Lions leading receiver Kenny Golliday, who has 1,008 yards and 10 touchdowns, is still playing in this game. Bad things can happen, and in the past with this team, they usually did. Today, we’ll see if that’s changed.
That’s why Bruce Arians says they need to be sharp in practice every day. That’s why Bruce Arians insists on taking it one week at a time and one game at a time. Hopefully, that’s why the Bucs won’t fall for this “trap game” and will win their fourth straight game today.
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!