The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday in Raymond James Stadium in this season’s divisional playoffs. After a painful loss on the road in Los Angeles, the coming game is being seen by fans as a chance at revenge; rather than an actual playoff game. But this is playoff football; winning is the only option.
“It’s the playoffs. You win or go home.” – Todd Bowles
Tampa Bay predictably handled the Eagles with relative ease in the wildcard round, but this game is much different. The Buccaneers are not only facing a much better squad of players, who have already beaten them but will also be facing yet more issues with injuries. Already the Bucks have confirmed they will be without wide receiver Breshad Perriman and running back Ronald Jones, although some positive news is we may see the return of starting back Leonard Fournette. Fans are also worried about the health of center Ryan Jensen and right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who were injured in the victory over Philadelphia. Early reports indicate that they will play, although this could come down to a game-time decision. Bruce Arians spoke to the press on Friday and stated that both offensive linemen were progressing nicely.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire?
The Buccaneers recently signed wide receiver John Brown to the practice squad, and with Breshad Perriman out for Sunday’s game, it looks like we may see the veteran receiver hit the field. Coach Arians mentioned that Brown is looking good and is recalling the scheme, adding that he will fit right in if needed. The veteran receiver may not be required, however, as reports from the training field suggest that Grayson could be healthy; then it becomes a selection headache for the coaching staff.
Protect the GOAT
The Rams defensive unit specializes in getting to the quarterback; protecting the GOAT is a must.
In Week 3, the Rams brought the pressure to Tom Brady, sacking him three times for 21 yards and hitting him 5 times — that’s not the only reason the Buccaneers lost the game as blame can certainly be attributed to only sacking Matt Stafford once, and allowing him to throw 4 touchdown passes.
Ultimately, the mission for Sunday will be to win the battle in the trenches.
Fun to watch.
You might not see a lot of Jalen Ramsey on Mike Evans, but that battle will be taking place, and it will certainly be entertaining. Another entertaining battle will be between Carlton Davis and Rams star receiver Cooper Kupp. It won’t be every down, but it is going to happen, and it will be frequent. Cooper Kupper is arguably one of the top receivers in the league, if not the top; stopping him is a must, and Carlton Davis will be up for the job.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do have their own top receiver in Mike Evans. Watch out for Mr. 8 straight to hit the Rams defense right square in the mouth.
Run for the Buc.
Ground and pound is not seen by many as a priority in this football game as both quarterbacks air the ball out better than just about anyone. But that could all change depending on how both teams’ defenses are playing and how they game planned. Neither teams’ coaches are slouches, so expect a fair share of running from these football teams.
The Rams have three very capable running backs in Cam Akers, Sony Michel, and Darelle Henderson. The Buccaneers as you know, have their own wheelhouse that can dominate plays and drives, and at times, the entire game. Both of these football teams have a top 5 ranked run defense. The Buccaneers are 3rd in the league, having only given up an average of 92.7 yards per game and the Rams are 5th with 100.8, which is why the logical thinking is to “win through the air.”
These two teams will be in the dog fight of their lives this Sunday, and the winner of this one will go on to the NFC Championship Game. There is no one certain player that must step up in this one. It has to be a team effort. Whoever wants this one the most will most likely be the Champions this season. Thankfully, this one is at home. The Buccaneers already have the leg up.