Bucs linebackers Kwon Alexander (missing his third straight game) and Lavonte David, along with safety Keith Tandy, were on Tampa Bay's inactive list. Also inactive for the Bucs is safety T.J. Ward, a former Pro Bowler acquired before the regular season from the Denver Broncos. Rookie safety Justin Evans will get his first NFL start, opposite Chris Conte.
Meanwhile, the Patriots will be without Gronkowski, who was on New England's inactive list. Gronkowski, a late addition to New England's injury list on Wednesday, has 20 receptions for 318 yards and two touchdowns this season. Dwayne Allen is expected to start at tight end for the Patriots.