The Las Vegas Raiders had a chance to finally get healthy over their bye week and come close to a full starting lineup going in against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, the recent news that right tackle Trent Brown has COVID-19 presents a significant issue even if the Raiders still end up playing on Sunday.
That's because they once again will have to play without a full deck against a top-10 defense, one that’s coming in hot.
That’s how the Buccaneers feel after their 38-10 thrashing of the Green Bay Packers last weekend.
Holding the previously undefeated Pack to 201 total yards and intercepting Aaron Rodgers twice, it was a rare day when the former MVP had no answers.
The Bucs defense though has played at that level the whole season now.
Ranking No. 1 in yards allowed and No. 8 in points, Tampa Bay has made a huge jump from last year when it ranked 29th in points allowed.
A big improvement in the play of the backend has a lot to do with it.
The addition of rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. has given their secondary a big hit threat.
That combined with the improved coverage ability of Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jordan Whitehead has rounded out the Bucs secondary.
They didn’t need much more considering the talent they have in their front seven, although they did take a hit with the loss of defensive tackle Vita Vea for the rest of the season.
The tone is still set by All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David, who along with Devin White forms one of the most athletic linebacking combos in the league.
Supplement that with last year’s sack leader in Shaquil Barret and All-Pro linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, and even with Vea gone the Bucs still have a fearsome unit.
It should be one of the most difficult challenges physically that the Raiders offense will face this season.
If they have to do it down multiple members of their starting line due to COVID, quarterback Derek Carr could have his hands full on Sunday.
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