Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than Bucsblitz.com's "Bucs Primer." Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of Bucsblitz.com's coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here's a look at our complete package of stories this week:
BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins will blog during Sunday's game.
Also, as a premium subscriber, you can now access Matthew Postins' appearances on the Scot Brantley show on WHBO 1470, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg. Postins appears with Brantley, a former Buccaneers linebacker, on a weekly basis to talk about the Bucs. His last four appearances can be found in the audio section at Bucsblitz.com.
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. EST
TV: FOX, Ron Pitts, Tony Boselli
PREDICTION: Bucs 23, Cardinals 17 (Matthew Postins).
SERIES: 16th meeting. Cardinals lead, 8-7, and won the last meeting, 12-7, in 2004. Only two of the Cardinals victories have been by more than a touchdown. Despite the small number of games they've played, the teams are tied together in some ways. The Cardinals traded running back Thomas Jones to Tampa in 2003. Simeon Rice and Michael Pittman went to Tampa via free agency after their time with the Cardinals. Shaun King played quarterback for both clubs. Tampa had the fourth pick in the last draft, taking defensive end Gaines Adams, while the Cardinals had the fifth, taking offensive tackle Levi Brown.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Cardinals QB Kurt Warner's throwing motion isn't affected by his injured left elbow, but it does make handing off a bit more complicated and backup Tim Rattay could again be inserted near the goal-line. Arizona is minus-seven in turnover margin on the season, a focus of coach Ken Whisenhunt during the bye week. It will be interesting to see how aggressive Whisenhunt is against Tampa's Cover-2 pass defense that ranks second in the NFL (173.1 yards per game). ... The Bucs are beat up and reeling, looking for a spark to get them through one more game until their bye week. That spark needs to come from QB Jeff Garcia, who threw his first three interceptions of the season last Sunday to go along with at least two costly overthrows of receivers open deep. Like the Jaguars, the Cardinals figure to blitz plenty. One solution for coach Jon Gruden is to try to get RB Michael Bennett mismatched against a linebacker.
KEY INJURIES: Cardinals: ILB Karlos Dansby (knee sprain) might again be replaced by Monty Beisel; LT Mike Gandy (calf) is practicing and expected to play; Warner (non-throwing elbow) will start. Bucs: DE Patrick Chukwurah (shoulder), CB Brian Kelly (groin) and TE Alex Smith (ankle) have a good shot at returning Sunday; WR Michael Clayton (ankle) and RB Michael Pittman may miss at least one more game; DE Greg Spires (calf) is expected to miss several weeks.
FAST FACTS: Cardinals S Adrian Wilson is the only NFL player with at least 15 sacks (16) and 15 interceptions (16) since he entered the league in 2001. ... Bucs WR Joey Galloway is averaging 55 yards on his four touchdown receptions.
--RB Edgerrin James has gained more than 100 yards in only one game this year, but he has been productive. He has averaged 86 rushing yards a game and is 12 yards shy of the 11,000 yard mark for his career.
--WR Anquan Boldin needs 80 receiving yards to reach the 5,000-yard mark for his career. If he does it this week, he will tie Jerry Rice as the fourth fastest to that milestone in NFL history.
--ILB Karlos Dansby practiced Thursday for the first time in more than a week and reported that his sprained knee felt good. He expects to play Sunday at Tampa Bay.
--LT Mike Gandy has practice this week despite a sore right calf and is expected to play Sunday against the Buccaneers.
--WR Ike Hilliard was limited in practice Thursday with a calf injury. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
--DE Patrick Chukwurah was limited in practice Thursday with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
--CB Brian Kelly was limited in practice Thursday with a groin injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. The Bucs are hoping Kelly can play with Torrie Cox placed on injured reserve.
--CB Sammy Davis will serve as the Bucs' nickelback Sunday against the Cardinals if Kelly cannot play.
--WR Michael Clayton has not made much progress with his injured ankle and was limited in practice Thursday. He is not expected to play Sunday.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
It appears the Cardinals won't have their starting offensive line back together for at least another week, barring injury.
Mike Gandy, their left tackle, has returned from a right calf injury. While he has looked good in practice, coaches want to make sure they have a backup ready to go should Gandy suffer a setback Sunday in Tampa Bay.
So rookie Levi Brown, who normally would start at right tackle, has been taking snaps on the left side. Brown returned to action in Washington on Oct. 21 after missing three games with an ankle injury.
If Gandy had not been injured, it's likely Brown would have gone back to right tackle.
The starter there continues to be Elton Brown, a converted guard. Elton Brown has played well at right tackle, however, so coaches have some flexibility in working Levi Brown back from his injury.
Gaines Adams decided he had enough. The fourth overall pick has lobbied coaches for playing time and he will see more action the second half of the season. Adams will get his chance with the injury to Greg Spires.
"Anybody playing a game they love, they want to be out there in the spotlight and to help their team be the best they can be," Adams said.
Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said he doesn't mind Adams speaking out.
"There's nothing wrong with that," Kiffin said. "I've heard that. But I don't need to hear it. I need to see it. The heck with what he's said. But I've seen it in practice the last couple weeks. He's really worked hard, and I think he's tired of sitting on the bench. You have to do it in practice, and he really has."
The problem with Adams is that he hasn't produced in practice, even if he was an All-American at Clemson.
"His best 11 plays were last week (against Jacksonville)," defensive line coach Larry Coyer said. "Doesn't sound like much, but in the nature of that game, he gave us 11 really fine plays."
If the first defensive player taken in the NFL draft participates in just 11 plays, that's a problem right there. But Kiffin says Adams will get his shot now.
"Spires is going to be out for a while," Kiffin said. "Gaines is going to play a lot. He's got to step up, and he will."