It's less a gentle hum of anxiety and more a booming alarm that is sounding around Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers prepare for a pivotal Week 9 matchup in Houston.
The Bucs face a must-win game against the Texans, as the team risks extending its losing streak to four games and faces the very real possibility of not winning another game until after Thanksgiving. After this Sunday's game, the Bucs get matchups against Tennessee, San Francisco, and Indianapolis -- all uphill battles in various ways.
Much like this Sunday's game, the Bucs should be able to look at the Colts game and breathe easy. Nothing has come easy this year, though, as the team has lived on the wrong side of a slim margin. Tennessee is in a similar position, but it's as easy to see Will Levis shredding the Bucs as it is seeing the team pulling out a gutsy win.
Tampa Bay is at a crossroads, as the team seems like it should be able to compete but it's still unclear how seriously they should be taken. Winning the NFC South is in play, but how much will the Bucs compete in the playoffs?
Winning in Houston on Sunday goes a long way in getting things back on track, but a loss will further force the team down a spiral that is quickly getting out of control.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers inactives this week
Not everyone will be suiting up for the Bucs this week as the team tries to end the losing streak. Two starters were already ruled out before the inactives list was released on Sunday. Both Logan Hall and Matt Feiler will miss today's game, with Aaron Stinne once again stepping up to take Feiler's place on the offensive line.
Another inactive that might raise some eyebrows is Sean Tucker. He entered the season as the team's RB2, but is a healthy scratch after watching his production slowly dwindle over the last few weeks. This means a heavy dose of Ke'Shawn Vaughn as the backup to Rachaad White.
Here's a look at who will be inactive for the Bucs this week:
- Matt Feiler, OL
- Logan Hall, DE
- Sean Tucker, RB
- Markees Watts, LB
- David Wells, LB
- John Wolford, QB
It's important to note that Wolford is inactive but he is the only player on that list eligible to play. Due to the new NFL rules, teams can carry a third quarterback as an emergency option without him counting against the active roster count.
So if both Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask get hurt, Wolford can come into the game. That's the only scenario in which he can, though, as he can't leafrog Trask if he's healthy.