Rams Vs. Buccaneers Week 9 Preview: NFC Divisional Round Rematch
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams decided to stand pat at the trade deadline, meaning they will need to look for solutions on the current roster to break out of their funk.

Like the Rams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also endured their fair share of struggles and look like a shell of the postseason team Los Angeles ran into during the playoffs.

The two teams were considered to be contenders heading into the new season, but so far both squads have severely underwhelmed through eight weeks of the 2022 season. A loss would put a serious dent into L.A.’s postseason hopes, but Tampa Bay faces similar consequences which could make for an even tighter game in the afternoon.

Rams Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense

Fortunately for Los Angeles, Cooper Kupp will suit up after suffering an ankle injury late in the game against the San Francisco 49ers. Matthew Stafford will have his primary option back, as well as Van Jefferson who was clearly being worked in slowly in Week 8.

Tampa Bay has had stout run defenses in the past, but this year has been a different story as teams have been able to gash them on the ground. Unfortunately, the Rams may struggle to take advantage in this area as they’ve been one of the worst rushing teams in the league.

One focus has to be keeping Stafford clean from interior pressure as the Buccaneers are excellent getting through to quarterbacks. Stafford has largely struggled with pressure right in his face, so he must get the ball out quickly to avoid taking hits and sacks.

Rams Defense vs. Buccaneers Offense

Tom Brady has not looked like himself and the Tampa Bay offensive line is a large reason for that. Injuries and losses in free agency has depleted their o-line depth, meaning the Rams could capitalize with their pass rush.

However, the Buccaneers will have their full allotment of receivers available chief among them Mike Evans and Chris Godwin who form a formidable duo. Raheem Morris has been reluctant to play much man coverage, opting for more zone that teams have been happy to pick apart underneath. While it’s done well to prevent explosive plays from happening, Brady will have no problem taking what’s given to him.

In previous matchups, the Rams defensive line has gotten to Brady on multiple occasions and it’ll take a similar effort to tilt the game in the Rams’ favor.

Keys To Victory

1. Win in the trenches

The Rams offensive line has been a weak point all year long, and against a Buccaneers pass rush they’ll need to be much better protecting Stafford when he drops back to pass.

On the flip side, the defensive line outside of Aaron Donald has left much to be desired. Fortunately, the Buccaneers o-line is vulnerable which means Donald and his teammates should find success getting into the backfield.

2. Run through the air

Handing the ball off to the running backs almost feels like a wasted play each week. Sean McVay might consider running the ball through the air, meaning short throws to the backs meant to pick up short yardage and keep the offense on schedule.