In a playoff rematch, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense will be looking for some retribution. After allowing Matthew Stafford and Copper Kupp to prevent the Buccaneers from going back to the Super Bowl it’s time to put together a complete game. Here’s how they can get after the Rams.
Looking at the injury report brings up two things that could very well swing the outcome of this game. The first is as the Buccaneers get healthy they may have Akiem Hicks back this week. Akiem hicks was originally brought in to provide the same presence Ndamukong Suh did. He, unfortunately, has not lived up to those expectations. But being back this week allows for an opportunity for him to make an impact.
He’ll get a better chance to do so if Rams’ center Brian Allen, who is currently questionable, is out. Allen has provided one of the few bright spots on the Rams offensive line. Currently he is the highest graded lineman on the Rams at an even 70.0 by PFF. His absence could leave the interior of the offensive line extremally depleted. If Hicks is a go and Allen is not that’ll be a big swing in the Buccaneers direction.
Much like the situation on the front lines, the secondary needs to attack Cooper Kupp. Unfortunately, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are questionable. So whom ever is stepping on the field needs to play Cooper Kupp tightly. This duty is hard enough especially once you consider Kupp is one of the most productive wide receivers against press coverage. Adding insult to injury Kupp also has been productive when seeing double coverage. In 2021 he saw doubles on 38.9% of his routes. It didn’t seem to slow him down.
Todd Bowles will need to do his due diligence in order to keep Kupp from taking over this game. He’ll have to show he can adjust in game as things are determined to work or not. As for the front line, with or without Hicks, they’ll need to get after Matthew Stafford and force turnover. Keeping this game low scoring may get the Buccaneers a win considering their offensive struggles.
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