The NFL is a game about matchups. There are times a team seems unbeatable. That same team can be caught by surprise, beaten by a team they were supposed to beat easily. Even a game itself is called a matchup. Going into this week’s game, you wonder how the Buccaneers and Rams matchup?
Win The Games Your Supposed To
It seemed quite nice of the NFL to let the Rams fatten up a little in the early part of the 2020 season. What else would you call playing four of the first eight games against the NFC Least? The Rams defeated the Cowboys in week one, 20-17, the Eagles in week two, 37-19, and the Giants in week four, 17-9. Finally, the Washington Football Team in week five, 30-10. Hardly a world beater’s schedule.
The Giants gave the Buccaneers all they could handle in week eight. There are very few lay-ups in the National Football League. When a team like the Rams has six-wins, you have to respect that. When you realize that four of those six wins came against teams that are a combined 10-26 in a division that has been the weakest in football for two consecutive years. One that is led by an Eagles team in first place at 3-5, you have to question the Rams 2020 strength of schedule up to this point.
But What About Those Rankings
Indeed, the Rams are highly ranked. They are at #10 on the CBS Sports NFL power rankings, where the Buccaneers are ranked at #5. At the same time over on NBC Sports power rankings, the Rams are at #9 and the Buccaneers are #4. On NFL.com, Jared Goff is ranked at #11 in passer ratings. Tom Brady is at #4. When it comes to running backs, Rams running back Darrell Henderson is at #17. The Buccaneers’ Ronald Jones II is sitting at #3.
On the defensive side of the ball is where the comparisons get interesting. On ESPN.COM’s defensive rankings, the Rams are ranked at #2 overall on defense. The Buccaneers are directly behind at #3. With Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, led by first-year Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, Los Angeles has found a rhythm in 2020. Then again, one may wonder how comfortable a team can get playing all four NFC East teams in the first five weeks of this season?
What About Those Rams Loses
Glad you asked. The Rams lost in week three to the Buffalo Bills, 35-32. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers in week six, 24-16. Finally, they were beaten by the Miami Dolphins back in week eight, 28-17. Nothing to see here. The three losses came against some pretty good teams. But when you take a look at the entirety of the Los Angeles Rams schedule, there is one thing clear. The Rams have not seen anything like what they will see on Monday night.
What To Expect
The Rams defeated the Seahawks last time out by shutting down Russel Wilson, DK Metcalf, and the Seattle passing game. Seattle’s running game was a non-factor. The Buccaneers saw first hand what a running game can do to open up a healthy passing game. Tampa Bay’s defense will also have their say as they wreak havoc in the Rams backfield. Not unlike they did last year in Los Angeles.
With Seattle beating Arizona the other night, the Seahawks are in sole possession of first place in the West. The Buccaneers are nipping at the heels of the Saints here in the South. This will be a dynamic primetime matchup befitting the 50th anniversary of Monday Night Football.