After a heartbreaking loss to the Giants, things do not get any easier for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are traveling to Los Angeles to play the undefeated Rams on Sunday afternoon. The Rams are coming off a 20-13 win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night.
Key To Winning: No Giveaways!
In order for the Bucs to have a realistic chance against Los Angeles, Jameis Winston needs to find a way to duplicate his outstanding performance from last week. As a matter of fact, this is a lot to ask, as the Rams’ defense is currently ranked 4th in the NFL. Undoubtedly, the Rams’ secondary (and their defense as a whole, for that matter) will make life significantly harder on the young quarterback than the Giants did.
As far as the running game is concerned, the Rams rank 11th in the league. Ronald Jones should end up seeing increased playing time after being highly productive late against New York. Look for the Bucs to get the running game going early. Conclusively, Jones will get at least 15 touches and Peyton Barber’s workload should decrease slightly.
To put it in a nutshell, if the Bucs do find a way to finish the contest without giving the ball away, chances are very good they can hand the Rams their first loss of the season.
Tough Challenge For Bucs Defense
Defensively, the Bucs will face one of their hardest tasks of the year. The Rams’ high-powered offense will have its way with the secondary if the Bucs play the way they did against the Giants. Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp are terrific wide receivers. Both players had an outstanding performance last Sunday. Without a doubt, Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis will have plenty of work trying to contain these two.
Beyond that, we must not forget about their exceptional running back Todd Gurley. Even though his last game was not exactly eye-popping (14 carries for only 43 yards, no catches), the Buccaneers have to gameplan against him. Containing Gurley the way the defense contained Saquon Barkley is the first step to upsetting the Rams.
Pass Rush, Pass Rush, Pass Rush!
After three games, the Bucs’ defense currently ranks 6th against the run. Chances are they will look good against Gurley, as well. Consequently, the pass rush needs to be efficient, once again. Getting Jared Goff rattled in the pocket is what Tampa Bay should have in mind. If they do not find a way to get to the passer on a regular basis, Goff will tear this defensive backfield apart. Sack master Shaq Barrett and the rest of the defense need to be on top of their game.
Close… But No Cigar!
Winning on the road is difficult in the NFL. Winning after such an emotional loss would be incredibly important for the confidence of the players and for team chemistry. However, the Bucs will lose in Los Angeles on Sunday. It will be a close game, closer than anticipated by most, yet it will not be enough for Tampa Bay. Winston will have one touchdown and the Bucs turn the ball over twice. In the end, Tampa Bay loses a close one.
Photo credit: ramswire.usatoday.com