NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barry Devoe
1 year ago
2 min read
NFL Divisional Playoff Preview - Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already played once this season, with the Rams winning that matchup in Los Angeles. This week, they face off in the Divisional round, with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Both teams come into this game riding high off of convincing wins in the Wild Card round and will look to ride their wave of momentum one step closer to the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles Rams

Last week, the Los Angeles Rams crushed the Arizona Cardinals at home to advance to the Divisional round. The Rams were outstanding on defense in that game, getting a pick six and holding the Cardinals to under 200 yards of offense in a blowout victory. This week, the Rams will have to slow down one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game if they want to play for the NFC championship the week after.

Matthew Stafford played one of his best games of the season last week for the Rams. He didn't turn the ball over and averaged nearly 12 yards per pass attempt to set the Rams up to take a 28-0 lead early in the third quarter. If Stafford can avoid turning the ball over again in this game, the Rams could very well win a second game over the Bucs this season en route to a conference title game appearance.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into this game as three-point favorites after they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 in the Wild Card round. The Bucs forced three turnovers to derail the Eagles' offense and took full advantage of those turnovers to score the first 31 points of the game. Against a more dangerous Rams team, the Bucs may have a harder time on defense, as they learned the first time they played the Rams this year.

For the Bucs to have more success against the Rams this time around, they will need to get more pressure on Matthew Stafford. Stafford was sacked just one time when these teams played in Week 3, and he threw four touchdown passes thanks to the lack of pressure on him throughout that game. If the Bucs can't get in Stafford's face more frequently, the Rams could deny the Buccaneers their repeat bid.

Keys To The Game

For the Rams, the biggest key to this game will be putting pressure on Tom Brady. Von Miller had a sack and three tackles for a loss against the Cardinals and will need to make more impact plays against the Buccaneers this week. Doing so will relieve the burden on the Rams secondary to cover Mike Evans for quite as long, which could make the difference in the game.

On the Buccaneers' side, the biggest key to this game will be finding ways to get Evans open. Evans will likely be defended by Jalen Ramsey for the majority of this contest, with Miller and Aaron Donald bearing down on Brady as often as possible. The Bucs will need to find ways to protect Brady to let longer developing routes come open for Evans.

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