Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rule Out Multiple Starters for Week 18

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without several key starters for their season finale against the Atlanta Falcons. The team officially declared that defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis III, edge rusher Carl Nassib, defensive back Logan Ryan, and left tackle Donovan Smith would all miss Sunday's Week 18 showdown. Vea, Ryan, and Smith all played close to their typical workloads in the Bucs' Week 17 triumphant 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers, so it's possible they've simply earned rests as they deal with nagging injuries. Davis has been out since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 16's narrow 19-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Nassib has been unavailable since going down with a pectoral injury in Week 14's 35-7 humiliation against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bucs have already clinched the NFC South and are locked into the conference's fourth seed, so they can afford to take it easy on whatever players could benefit from time off. However, head coach Todd Bowles has previously implied that the starters would play on Sunday, including quarterback Tom Brady. The Bucs would likely prefer to win on Sunday for a couple of relatively petty reasons, but they're wise not to overextend themselves.
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