Tampa Bay nose tackle Anthony McFarland, who has been sidelined with a fractured forearm he suffered against Carolina on October 27, will play against Atlanta, which bodes well for the Buccaneers' defense.
Bucs defensive end Ellis Wyms, who suffered a left ankle sprain against New Orleans last Sunday, was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he's expected to play against the Falcons.
"We held Ellis Wyms today," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "He's got an ankle sprain and he's still questionable for the game. Knowing Ellis, he'll be ready to go on Sunday. Just about everybody else practiced."
Atlanta has 11 players listed on its injury report and some of them are significant injuries.
Falcons starting quarterback Michael Vick has come down with the flu and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
"I feel bad for coming down with the flu," Vick said on Wednesday. "I am going to get some treatment and get some rest. I'm trying to eat a little bit, but other than that I am just trying to get rid of it."
If Vick cannot play, backup QB Doug Johnson will start against the Buccaneers.
The Falcons might also be without running back Warrick Dunn (ankle sprain) and cornerback Ray Buchanan (abdomen/knee), who are both listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.
Tampa Bay's defense held Dunn, who is Atlanta's second-leading rusher and receiver, in check when they faced the Falcons in Week 5. Dunn rushed nine times for 14 yards (1.6 avg.) and caught two passes for 13 yards against the Bucs. But if Dunn misses Sunday's game, which would be his first in Raymond James Stadium since leaving Tampa Bay via free agency during the offseason, it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Falcons.
Atlanta rookie RB T.J. Duckett only carried the ball 11 times against Tampa Bay in Week 5, but the 6-foot, 254-pound back gained 52 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He also hauled in three passes for 34 yards in that contest.
Even if Dunn can play, the Bucs' defense expects to see a lot more of Duckett in Atlanta's rushing attack.
"I think they felt like they had some success (with Duckett) and I even saw some comments where they felt like they got away from him a little too early in that last game, so I would expect a heavy dose of that," Bucs strong safety John Lynch said.
Buchanan's injury is just as significant for Atlanta's defense. The Falcons were without Buchanan in Week 5 because he was serving a substance abuse-related suspension. The Falcons' 3-4 defense gave the Buccaneers' offense a lot of man-to-man coverage in Week 5, which allowed Tampa Bay receivers Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius to haul in a total of seven passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. The majority of those receptions came came on slant patterns.
PewterReport.com has the Bucs-Falcons injury report listed below.
BUCS-FALCONS INJURY REPORT:
Probable (Player has a 75 percent chance of playing)
Questionable (Player has a 50 percent chance of playing)
Doubtful (Player has a 25 percent chance of playing)
Out (Player will not play)
DE Ellis Wyms – (right ankle sprain) – Questionable
DT Chartric Darby – (right ankle sprain) – Probable
S Dexter Jackson – (right quad contusion) – Probable
RB Aaron Stecker –( right lower leg contusion) – Probable
WR Karl Williams – (left ankle sprain) – Probable
CB Ray Buchanan – (abdomen/knee) – Doubtful
RB Warrick Dunn – (ankle) – Doubtful
G Kynan Forney – (hamstring) – Doubtful
DE Travis Hall – (foot) – Doubtful
CB Kevin Mathis – (hamstring) – Doubtful
LB John Holececk – (arm) – Questionable
TE Reggie Kelly – (ankle) – Probable
TE Derek Rackley – (infection) – Probable
LB Mark Simoneau – (ankle) – Probable
DE Brady Smith (hip/knee) – Probable
T Todd Weiner (elbow) – Probable
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