When the NFL schedule makers were making this season's NFL schedule this past spring, a Bucs at Panthers Monday Night primetime game in Week 5 seemed like a great matchup, a month ago it seemed as though it'd be a great matchup. Two of the top two young QBs in the league going head to head, two of the better defenses in a primetime game, it was a no-brainer to schedule this game.
However, now just two days prior to the game, it's turned into basically a Week 5 regular season "preseason" game, at least as far as the lineups will look. Look at the list of injuries for both teams.
The Panthers will be missing QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart, CB Bene Benwikere (released this week), OT Michael Oher, and possibly LB Thomas Davis.
The Bucs will be without their top two RBs in Doug Martin and Charles Sims, three starting defensive linemen in Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald, plus TE Luke Stocker.
And these are just the players we are aware of, there is still 48 hours until game time and will inevitably be more inactives announced.
So for such an important game for both teams, the Panthers and Bucs both are 1-3, it's basically going to look like nothing more than a preseason game, at least roster wise.