Despite all of the offseason doubts about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team is playing meaningful football in December.
Not only that, but Sunday's matchup against the Packers is perhaps the biggest game of the season so far with so much hinging on what happens. A win would help the Bucs keep control of the NFC South and move one step closer to clinching a playoff berth, while a loss knocks them down a peg or two.
Thanks to a loss by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, the Bucs might be able to survive a loss in Green Bay and still be on a path to the postseason. The easiest path remains winning the NFC South, but Tampa Bay now has a chance at securing a Wilf Card spot thanks to how things are shaking out.
Nobody wants to see an already frustrating team limp into the playoffs just to be canon fodder; winning on Sunday should be the only goal. It's more than just a ticket to the playoffs on the line as jobs are at stake as well, but not everyone will be suiting up when kickoff comes around.
Buccaneers inactives for Week 15 vs. Packers (Updated)
- Devin White, LB
- Carlton Davis III, CB
- Ryan Neal, S
- Will Gholston, DL
- Josh Hayes, CB
- Brandon Walton, OL
- John Wolford (Emergency QB)
One development to keep an eye on is Devin White, who is inactive but not because of an injury. It's unclear what is keeping him out of the game, but given the rocky season he's had and the looming contract situation, it's a notable decision for the team to have made.
Injuries have been piling up for the Bucs over the last few weeks, with some key players missing action in big games. Last week Tampa Bay was without Vita Vea while Devin White hasn't played in two weeks. Despite these losses, the Bucs managed two win back-to-back games and get the season back on track.
It's not a sustainable path forward, though.
Tampa Bay will again be without some key players in Green Bay. Carlton Davis was ruled out ahead of the weekend with Vita Vea originally listed as doubtful. Thankfully his status was upgraded to questionable on Sunday but Chris Godwin and Jamel Dean also carried a questionable designation into Sunday.
Ryan Neal didn't even make the trip, as he was ruled out alongside Davis ahead of the weekend arriving. Devin White was listed as questionable, though, which takes some stress off the situation at linebacker that thankfully didn't spiral out of control over the last two weeks.