What to Watch For: Buccaneers vs Rams


Entering week three of this young season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are undefeated sitting at 2-0. The team has its first road game against a fellow 2-0 team in the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams have Super Bowl aspirations, so this matchup could have some ramifications come playoff time. Lets take a look at some matchups and narratives for week three.

MVP Season?

So far into the season quarterback, Tom Brady has played extremely well, leading the number one scoring offense. The team has averaged 39.5 points per game and Brady is currently leading the league in passing touchdowns with nine. If he can keep his stellar play up he can lead the Buccaneers into the postseason as a top seed. That would only help his chances at bringing in another trophy into his unparalleled trophy case. Tampa Bay has never had an MVP season from any player in its history.

The Rams pose a huge challenge for Brady, and the Buccaneers’ offense, that a win could help propel him to a fourth MVP season. Los Angeles had the number one ranked defense last season and beat the Buccaneers 27-24 in Week 11. With three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey playing defense, there is an immense challenge facing the Buccaneers passing offense.

If Brady can figure out this defense and keep scoring points, the Buccaneers’ ceiling raises even further.

Ground Game

The Rams’ strength lies on the defensive side of the field. With two of the best defensive players in the entire league, defensive tackle Donald and cornerback Ramsey, it’s tough for opposing offenses to pass on them. So far through two games, the Rams have allowed 4.7 yards per rushing attempt.

It would be wise for the Buccaneers to limit the Rams’ opportunities to force a turnover by running the ball. Tampa’s top two running backs, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II, are talented football players but have yet to make a mark on this young season.

The team can decide to run at Donald and attempt to wear the defensive line by challenging their run defense. Getting the running game going would help alleviate some of the pressure on Tampas receiving options.

Stafford and Co.

The Rams entered the season as not only a playoff hopeful but also a Super Bowl contender. The defense is great but they now employ a new quarterback in Matthew Stafford. The 12-year vet has played very well so far this season completing nearly 70% of his passes and has 5 touchdowns to go along with 599 yards through the air. His receiving corps is the best he has had in years.

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp is currently on a tear as he is averaging 135 yards per game and has been nearly uncoverable. He could pose a challenge for Tampa Bay, as they have been an inconsistent pass defense thus far. The Rams running game isn’t nearly as polished as their passing offense so expect Stafford to be dropping back plenty on Sunday.

The Buccaneers can get a win if the defense continues its ball-hawking ways from week two. The defense turned two of their three interceptions into touchdowns in week two, both returns from defensive back Mike Edwards.

As always the turnover battle will be key in getting a third win for either team.

Which Team Stays Undefeated?

For the Buccaneers to leave LA with a win they will need a complete effort from both the offense and defense. On offense, Tom Brady looks to continue his promising late-career play and will do all he can to keep his team unbeaten.

Along with the quarterback, the running backs need to get going though if they intend on keeping Brady upright and healthy throughout this long season.

Finally, Stafford and the Rams passing attack pose a third straight challenge for the defensive unit and could score a ton of points but a timely interception or fumble can tilt the game in Tampa’s favor.