The San Francisco 49ers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a crucial NFC matchup from Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay appears to be on its way to repeating in the NFC South, while the 49ers appear poised to win the West despite some of the injuries they’ve had to deal with, particularly recently.
Is Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey joining for Buccaneers vs. 49ers?
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- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay started the season slowly, but has recently gained momentum and moved into the thick of the playoff race.
With the 49ers looking like a Super Bowl contender and the Buccaneers forced to travel to the West Coast, this could be a difficult game for Tampa Bay to navigate.
Injuries have been a factor in this team’s inability to maintain consistency throughout the season.
On the offensive side, Leonard Fournette (foot) remains questionable, but the offensive line remains in disarray, with four likely starters missing this game.
On the defensive side, a pair of safeties are still questionable, while Vita Vea (foot) is the name to keep an eye on.
This team’s defense has remained strong, despite a significant drop in offensive threat from previous seasons.
They rank 17th in total offense but last in the league in rushing, which will be emphasized against the 49ers.
Tom Brady (16 touchdowns, 3 interceptions) has lost some of his knack for explosive plays, but if he can take care of the ball and lean on his receivers, this team has a good chance of succeeding.
Mike Evans has had an outstanding season, but he and Brady will need the backfield to step up in this one.
- San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers dealt with injuries on the defensive side of the ball for much of the first half of the season, and just as they were getting healthy on that side of the ball, the offense was hit.
Taking on Tampa Bay should be a good litmus test for this team, as while they are talented and a likely playoff team, they are also beatable.
As previously stated, injuries have this group looking for answers.
On offense, Elijah Mitchell (knee) is still out, as are both of their quarterbacks who led the depth chart when the season began, which means Brock Purdy will take over for Jimmy Garoppolo (foot).
Beyond them, Christian McCaffrey (knee) and Deebo Samuel (quadricep) are key players who could miss the game on Sunday as well.
Defensively, all eyes are on Nick Bosa (hamstring), who is also questionable.