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New Orleans Saints missing three key starters vs. Buccaneers

Craig Robertson, Michael Thomas and Max Unger all inactive

Tampa, Fla. - The New Orleans Saints will have to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday without three of their top players as center Max Unger, linebacker Craig Robertson and receiver Michael Thomas all landed on the inactive list.

All three players had played in the first 12 games of the season. Thomas is the team's leading receiver with 69 catches for 831 yards and seven touchdowns while Robertson leads the defense in tackles with 100. Thomas and Unger are out with foot injuries while Robertson has a shoulder injury.

Second-year linebacker Stephone Anthony figures to see more playing time Sunday with Robertson out. Either Senio Kelemete or Tim Lelito figure to replace Unger at center. It's the first game Unger has missed since he joined the Saints in 2015.

Thomas' loss may be the easiest to absorb as receivers Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead IV are having strong seasons and Brandon Coleman has been a steady presence this season.

The Saints also will be playing without safety Kenny Vaccaro (suspension) and tight end Josh Hill (injured reserve).

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