Bucs Declare Trio of Key Defenders Out for Week 6

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without three of their most trusted veterans on defense when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6. Head coach Todd Bowles declared at his Friday presser that defensive back Logan Ryan, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks would all miss Sunday's game.

Ryan and Hicks both missed Week 5's 21-15 win against the Atlanta Falcons, and Murphy-Bunting exited the game early with a quad injury.

Ryan had been off to a splendid start to the season before injuring his foot in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing a 60.8 passer rating on throws in his direction. His departure after only nine defensive snaps in the game coincided with the Bucs allowing a season-high 41 points.

Hicks joined the Bucs this past offseason as one of their bigger free agent splashes, signing a one-year, $10 million deal to man the inside next to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vita Vea. He's been out since the team's Week 2 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Murphy-Bunting is in his fourth year with the Bucs. Due to the arrival of Ryan and the ascension of Jamel Dean, he's been relegated to a backup role this year after starting 31 games for the team across his first three seasons.

The Bucs are 8.5-point favorites against the Steelers this Sunday, so the injuries shouldn't necessarily sink their chances, but they will make it difficult to build momentum. At 3-2 through five weeks, the team certainly remains in the running in the NFC, but they've yet to put together a dominant effort that would announce them as a Super Bowl contender. Maybe that changes Sunday.

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