The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the two teams that need to bite the bullet and play on Thursday this week, a task they may undertake shorthanded. Their Week 8 injury report a day before the game features Baker Mayfield, Chris Godwin, and Vita Vea listed as questionable. Those are three of Tampa Bay’s most important players.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin’s status is mostly precautionary. Head coach Todd Bowles said that Godwin should suit up on Thursday night. Chris Godwin was also a full participant in the team’s Wednesday practice, an encouraging sign that his neck injury won’t hold him back. Godwin leads the Bucs in receptions entering Week 8.
Starting quarterback Baker Mayfield was also a full participant in Tampa Bay’s Wednesday practice, so expect him to suit up too. During the week, Mayfield said that he is just trying to manage the pain in his knee right now. He has been known to play through injuries whenever possible, so the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have Mayfield under center Thursday night.
Vita Vea’s status is the most uncertain, as he’s supposed to be a game-time decision thanks to his groin. Unlike Mayfield and Godwin, he didn’t participate in any of Tampa Bay’s practices this week. Vea leads the team in sacks, so his absence would be a massive blow.
Why Thursday is Important for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The NFC South race is tight, with the Bucs in second after falling to the Atlanta Falcons last week. Tampa Bay is 0.5 games behind them while leading the New Orleans Saints (who they beat) by 0.5 games. Atlanta has three straight games against below .500 teams next on their schedule, so the Buccaneers are at risk of losing ground.
Standing in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ way is a Buffalo Bills team that is struggling right now. After escaping with a win over the lowly Giants in Week 6, Buffalo lost to an awful Patriots team in Week 7. They’re vulnerable and on a short week too, which is why the Bucs need to strike.
Health may not be on their side but there are no excuses in the NFL. A win in Week 8 would go a long way toward a third-straight division title. Let’s see if they can pull it off.