In the grand scheme of things, today’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons means nothing. The Bucs can’t improve - or hurt - their playoff seeding and the Falcons are simply finalizing their draft position. It’s another opportunity for quarterback Desmond Ridder to get real experience before likely becoming the full time starter next season.
However, Tom Brady’s 10-0 record against the Falcons is on the line and Chris Godwin is nine receptions away from the single-season franchise record for receptions in a year. There are bonus incentives and other reasons that some Bucs starters will want to be on the field and play for a win. None more important than building off the offensive explosion we saw last week - and not limping into the playoffs as an 8-9 division winner.
The Bucs already ruled out key players, allowing them to rest their injuries ahead of the playoffs. Carlton Davis, Vita Vea, and Donovan Smith among them. Carl Nassib - who had been playing well - was on track to return but won’t play as he continues to get healthy. In the end, it’s about next week and the three potential games beyond that actually matter.
Wide receiver Julio Jones will end up missing both games against the Falcons this season as he is still dealing with a knee injury and also missed practice this week with an illness. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman will be active in his place after being a healthy scratch the last couple of games.
We might see third string quarterback Kyle Trask get some action in this one depending on what - or how much - Todd Bowles wants to see out of his first team offense. Obviously you don’t want to put Brady or other players at risk and tank any postseason chances the team has. At the same time, the offense hasn’t exactly been a well oiled machine and you don’t want to stifle any progress they made against the Panthers last week.
Here are your game day inactives for the Bucs and Falcons;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
CB - Carlton Davis
LT - Donovan Smith
DE - Carl Nassib
DT - Vita Vea
WR - Julio Jones
S - Logan Ryan
S - Mike Edwards
TE - Felipe Franks
CB - Rashad Fenton
S - Micah Abernathy
LB - David Anenih
G - Elijah Wilkinson
DL - Jalen Dalton
The Bucs and Falcons kickoff inside the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET with the game broadcast on FOX. Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth will be on the call.
For more on this and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!