After their embarrassing 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday night, the Bucs have another division game this week in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.
The Bucs beat the Panthers in week two 31-17. Teddy Bridgewater torched the Bucs secondary for 367 yards but was intercepted twice.
The game was not put away until the fourth quarter when Leonard Fournette took over the game with his running and helped seal the victory for the Bucs.
What kind of game can we expect, and what can of performance can we expect from the Bucs this week?
Tom Brady, coming off his worst performance of his career, has always had a good game after a game in which he has not played well.
The bad news is Ali Marpet, who missed last week’s game with a concussion, will once again miss this week’s game as he has not cleared concussion protocol.
That means Joe Haeg will start at guard in place of the injured Marpet.
Last week against the Saints was the worst performance from the offensive line this season. Brady was sacked three times and under pressure most of the night.
The Panthers defensive front is not as good as the Saints defensive front, but I am worried about this game tomorrow.
If Haeg struggles, I would not waste any time putting A.Q. Shipley in at center and moving Ryan Jensen to guard.
The Bucs also put two players on the reserve COVID-19 list, kick returner Jayden Mickens, and wide receiver Cyril Grayson.
Mickens has been the primary return man for the Bucs this season both in kickoffs and punts.
With Mickens out, Scotty Miller, Justin Watson, and Antonio Brown could get a chance in the return game. Sean Murphy Bunting and Antoine Winfield Jr. are also listed as returners on the depth chart.
Defensive back Carlton Davis was limited in practice on Friday and is questionable for Sunday. Davis has been the Bucs best defensive back this season and is second in the NFL in interceptions with four.
If Davis can’t go, that would be a huge blow for the Buccaneers defense.
Panthers wide receivers Robby Anderson and DJ Moore had over 200 yards combined receiving the first time these two teams met. The Bucs need very one healthy against this duo.
For the Panthers, all-purpose back Christian McCaffrey will miss the game with a shoulder injury. Tackle Russell Okung and defensive end Stephen Weatherly are also out for the Panthers.