The Tampa Bay Buccaneers punch their ticket to the dance with a win on Sunday against the Saints and they may have to do it without a few key players. Missing from practice on Wednesday were cornerback Carlton Davis and edge rusher Shaq Barrett.
Davis, who left Sunday’s win against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a concussion, is still dealing with that and has entered the league’s concussion protocol. No word on how well he is progressing or the chances he could play quite yet, but certainly something to monitor - although, Zyon McCollum has played really well as a starter this season as he’s had to fill in for both Davis and Jamel Dean on numerous occasions throughout the year.
Shaq Barrett, however, is dealing with a groin injury which could be a bit more problematic. Lavonte David suffered a groin injury earlier in the year and wound up missing two games because of it. If Barrett can’t go, that’ll likely lead to more snaps for emerging rookie YaYa Diaby, but it weakens the Bucs’ pass rush overall since Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has fallen off after a hot start.
For the New Orleans Saints, it appears they will be without wide receiver Michael Thomas and cornerback Marshon Lattimore this week. While Lattimore hasn’t officially been ruled out, the likelihood he returns this week is slim-to-none. With Mike Evans having left the week four matchup in New Orleans in the second quarter, this is a forgettable year in the Evans/Lattimore rivalry.
The Saints were also without safety Jordan Howden (illness) and safety Lonnie Johnson (knee) on Wednesday. Pass rusher Cam Jordan was a limited participant with an ankle injury and has seen more action recently on running downs than in passing situations, which isn’t good news for the Saints in a must win game to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
Here is the full injury report for the Bucs and Saints after Wednesday’s practices;
The Bucs and Saints kickoff in Raymond James Stadium on New Year’s Eve at 1:00 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on FOX with Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi on the call.