At 4-4, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a critical home test against the Houston Texans in Week 10. Falling to 4-5 would not bury the Buccaneers' chances of making the playoffs, but it sure would put them squarely behind the eight-ball in the NFC South. The Atlanta Falcons (5-3) are hosting the New Orleans Saints (6-3) this Sunday, with the winner taking the lead in the division through ten weeks.
The Buccaneers have lost two in a row and have not had that winning feeling since Week 7 when they edged the New Orleans Saints, 26-20, at home. Sunday will be their first home game since that October 16th win. It will also be the first time since going to battle with their intended starting five along the offensive line.
It appears as if the Bucs will be back to full strength up front on Sunday against Houston, as Zuttah is poised to resume his role as the starting left guard. He started at center in Week Seven with Faine out due to a biceps strain, then suffered his own knee injury against the Chicago Bears and was out for the bye week and last week’s rematch with the Saints. Faine returned from his injury to start the game in New Orleans.
Here's the complete, official Friday injury report for the Buccaneers:
- DT Frank Okam (calf)
- LB Dekota Wilson (groin)
- WR Mike Williams (thigh)
- QB Josh Freeman (right thumb)
- S Tanard Jackson (hamstring)
- C Jeremy Zuttah (knee)
To keep pace with the explosive, well-balanced offense of the Texans, the Buccaneers certainly need Josh Freeman and Mike Williams to not only play, but play well. The good news though is that NFL games are often won in the trenches, and for the first time in a month, the Buccaneers will have their optimal starting five healthy and in their natural positions to help pave the way for an effective rushing attack and a clean pocket to throw from.
For more Bucs analysis and fan conversation prior to Sunday afternoon's game against the Texans, stop on by Bucs Nation.