The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos have ruled out a combined six starters for Sunday’s game.
For the Bucs, running back Doug Martin, defensive end Robert Ayers and tight end Luke Stocker will miss Sunday’s game. That’s a hefty blow to the Bucs’ running game, with Stocker being the team’s main blocking tight end, and that will be especially problematic because the Broncos are most vulnerable against runs up the middle.
The Bucs also ruled out backup wide receiver Cecil Shorts, while center Joe Hawley is listed as questionable — he’s likely to play, though.
As for the Broncos, they’ll have to suit up without defensive end DeMarcus Ware, tackle Donald Stephenson or tight end Virgil Green. In addition, safeties Shiloh Keo and Justin Simmons were listed as questionable, though both of them are expected to play Sunday.
Ware’s absence would be a big blow to an ordinary team, but with Von Miller, the Broncos have plenty of pass rush to go around. Stephenson’s injury may be a bigger deal, but the Bucs have their own pass rush problems and may not be able to take advantage of it.
In any case, neither team will be at full strength on Sunday. We’ll see who comes out on top.