I remember watching this game last year, and, honestly, I believe it was a turning point for the Lions.
Not only did they snap a 26-game road losing streak, but they learned how to close out games. They didn't fall apart in the 4th quarter, like the Lions teams of old, and they did it all with their third-string quarterback, Drew Stanton.
Now, the Bucs are by no means pushovers.
They're also an up-and-coming team, one that almost mirrors the Lions. However, they lost key pieces over the off-season, none more detrimental than linebacker Barrett Ruud, who bolted to that other Florida team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
They added defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers in the draft who, paired with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, form a formidable defensive line that could rival Detroit's.
However, it is the offense that makes Tampa Bay a force to be reckoned with.
Josh Freeman is an emerging stud quarterback, posting a 95.9 QB rating last year, good for sixth in the entire league. He is surrounded by young talent as well in Mike Williams, the top receiver in last years draft, Arrelious Benn, a promising wideout entering his second season, Kellen Winslow Jr., no doubt one of the better tight ends in the league, and LeGarrette Blount, a pleasant surprise who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season.
This will prove to be a very compelling match-up between two emerging young teams, hungry to prove themselves to the league.
It will be a very close game, with the two teams going to OT the second consecutive time. But the Lions will end up edging the Bucs on the arm of Matthew Stafford, who'll fuel his team in his return.
Final Score: 27-24 (OT) Lions