When you look at the matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there's a common thread between the two teams: injuries.
Although both teams have them, there's a clear-cut difference between the teams and their injury reports.
The Steelers defensive corps lost three starters in their Week 3 win over the Carolina Panthers, and even though the Buccaneers' record is a dreadful 0-3, they're getting many of their injured starters back for the game this Sunday at Heinz Field.
The biggest boost for the Buccaneers in this game will be the return of running back Doug Martin. Martin injured his knee in the season opener but has been a full participant in practice this week. Barring a setback, you can expect to see a heavy dose of Martin and the Buccaneers' stretch running game against a Steelers' defense that has struggled defending the stretch game this season.
On the defensive front, Buccaneers' prized defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who has been hampered with an injury to his hand, has been limited in practice and stated he's expecting to suit up against the Steelers this weekend. McCoy can be a force along the defensive line and could help to slow down the league's No. 1 rushing attack led by Le'Veon Bell.
These two players returning to the lineup will pay huge dividends for a Buccaneers team that is desperate and searching for that elusive first victory of the season.
But not all injury news is good for the Buccaneers. Starting quarterback Josh McCown has been ruled out for this Sunday's contest as he's still dealing with a right hand injury. Along with McCown, wide receiver Vincent Jackson is dealing with a fracture in his wrist, but has said he's expecting to play through the injury.
Fans expecting a Buccaneers team that will simply lay down and die might want to think again. The Steelers will have to limit Martin, who his teammates call "the muscle hamster," for his 5-foot-9, 223 pound frame, to minimal gains and put the game on the shoulders of inexperienced quarterback Mike Glennon if they want to advance to 3-1 and remain a perfect 2-0 at home in 2014.