After getting pegged as a team that would tank for a high draft pick this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in control of the NFC South and barreling toward hosting a home playoff game.
It wasn’t easy, as the Bucs nearly doomed themselves over the course of a 1-6 stretch in the middle of the season, but it seems the ship has finally turned around. Tampa Bay is in the middle of a three-game winning streak and will be looking to make it four in a row on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Everyone is riding high after a season-defining win over the Packers last Sunday, and things trended the Bucs way early in the week with news that Trevor Lawrence’s status for Week 16 was in doubt. Whether or not Lawrence plays has been a storyline all week, one that has taken a few twists and turns in the lead up to kickoff.
Is Trevor Lawrence playing Week 16 vs. Buccaneers?
Lawrence is dealing with a few different things that have him banged up, but the most immediate challenge is the fact that he was in concussion protocol all week. He suffered a nasty looking ankle injury three weeks ago against the Bengals, but managed to play that following Sunday and didn’t miss his start last week against Baltimore.
Both of those games were losses, which gives some Bucs fans confidence that even if Lawrence plays that he won’t be as big of a factor as it otherwise might seem. It’s that big if that everyone is zeroed in on, as it’s perhaps the single most important question revolving around the game.
At one point this week it was being reported that Lawrence was unlikely to play on Sunday since he hadn’t been cleared from the concussion protocol. He practiced on Friday but still hadn’t been cleared, even though the Jags officially listed him as ‘questionable’ heading into the weekend.
Saturday was a big day, as Lawrence traveled with the team to Tampa and was finally officially cleared to play. That’s not the end of the story, though, as he still hasn’t been named the starter for Sunday.
All of this seems to be trending toward Lawrence playing. Had things remained where they were earlier in the week, and given the thin ice teams are on with injury protocol, Lawrence probably sits Sunday out.
Jacksonville’s on the verge of dropping out of the playoff picture, though, which puts extra pressure on the team having its franchise quarterback available for a tough game. One thing working in his favor is the late kickoff time, as the game not starting until 4:05pm ET gives Lawrence and the Jags a few extra hours to see where things are at.
It’s not just Bucs and Jaguars fans who are invested in the playing status of Lawrence. With Fantasy Football playoffs officially underway, whether or not Lawrence plays impacts owners of both the Jags quarterback and the Buccaneers defense.