If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to pull off an upset of the Detroit Lions, they will have to do so without safety Kaevon Merriweather.

Merriweather, an undrafted rookie out of Iowa, has been ruled out of the Bucs' divisional round game because of a right ankle injury, courtesy of WFLA's Aileen Hnatiuk.

The first-year safety emerged late in the season as a big part of Todd Bowles' defense. Merriweather featured on special teams throughout the season, but he didn't play a snap on defense until Tampa Bay's 10th game of the season.

Of the Bucs' last eight games of the season, Merriweather played at least 20% of the snaps on defense in seven of them, in addition to featuring on special teams.

Buccaneers secondary in trouble

The ankle injury to Merriweather comes at an especially inopportune time for the Buccaneers. As the Lions look to hold on for the win, Tampa Bay's secondary has taken multiple hits.

In addition to Merriweather, cornerback Jamel Dean went down with an injury in the fourth quarter. His status to return was unknown.

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The Buccaneers' secondary was already struggling to contain Lions quarterback Jared Goff. Goff was already over 250 yards passing with two touchdowns. More importantly, he avoided interceptions, although Dean had one slip through his hands in the game's first quarter, a crucial mistake by the defense.

With Merriweather confirmed to be out for the rest of the game, the Buccaneers cannot afford to lose another secondary player against the explosive offense of the Lions.