A game that once looked like it would be padding for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the standings has become a trap game that might cost jobs if things go awry.
Tampa Bay needs to win on Sunday for more than one reason. Clinging to life, the Bucs are just a game out of first place in the NFC South and can regain some control with a victory over Carolina. A loss, though, could be a final nail in the coffin for Todd Bowles and his coaching staff.
Losing to a 1-10 division rival would without a doubt be the most embarrassing loss of the season, one that has featured a fair share of bad losses. It would be the sort of meltdown that Bowles simply can't come back from, but he might have a Get Out Of Jail Free card up his sleeve in the form of the sheer number of key playes the Bucs will be without on Sunday.
Buccaneers inactives for Week 13 vs. Panthers
It's an inactives list that reads like a Pro Bowl roster, as the Bucs are missing three key starters on defense as well as a rookie who was starting to turn things on recently.
Lavonte David will miss his second straight game, and he'll be joined by Devin White who has also been battling injuries as of late. Jamel Dean has been banged up all season, something that will keep him out of action against the Panthers on Sunday.
Here's everyone who is out this Sunday against Carolina:
- Lavonte David, LB
- Devin White, LB
- SirVocea Dennis, LB
- Jamel Dean, CB
- Brandon Walton, DL
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB
- John Wolford, QB
For another straight week, Wolford is eligible to play but the Bucs will have to rule out both Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask in order for him to take the field.
One name thankfully not on the inactive list is Chris Godwin. He was added to the injury report this week with a neck issue and was a game time decision heading into Sunday. It turns out he'll be able to play, but the Bucs are dangerously thin on defense and it's a very bad way for a crucial day for the team to begin.