Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl DT Vea to Miss Week 16

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense will be without the heart of their front seven for their Week 16 showdown with the Arizona Cardinals. At his Friday press conference, head coach Todd Bowles declared All-Pro defensive tackle Vita Vea out for Sunday's matchup.

Vea has been unavailable since suffering a calf injury four snaps into the Bucs' Week 14 35-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He has appeared in 13 games this year, already setting career highs with 6.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss.

The Buccaneers should be able to get by without Vea this week in what projects to be a very winnable game against the Cardinals. With Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy battling injuries, the Cardinals will be forced to start Trace McSorley. The fourth-year passer has thrown three interceptions on only 31 dropbacks this season while netting only 156 passing yards. He should struggle against a Buccaneers' defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards in the league.

Vea joined the Bucs as their 12th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was the centrepiece of an incredible Buccaneers run defense that finished first, first, and third in rushing yards allowed from 2019 to 2021. He signed a four-year, $71 million deal last year to remain with the team through the 2026 season. 

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