The Los Angeles Rams are coming off a very impressive win over the Seattle Seahawks in week 10. The coaching staff must’ve read the article last week because it was the blueprint for their 23-16 win. But I can’t take all the credit…but let’s recap.
The Los Angeles Rams defense contained Russell Wilson and held him to a QB rating of 57 and intercepting him twice but really shined by limiting the Seahawks to just three points in the second half. Jared Goff and the offense played mistake-free and were able to control the game. All of this gave the Rams a much-needed win against a division rival. Next up is a talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers team led by Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers have been red hot all year with their impressive play on both sides of the ball, but they aren’t too different from the Rams. Both teams have many similarities, especially on the defense:
|Los Angeles Rams||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|QBR Allowed||81.0 (3rd)||89.0 (9th)|
|Pass Yards Per Game(Allowed)||179.7 (3rd)||223.7 (16th)|
|Sacks||31 (T-3rd)||32 (2nd)|
|Yards Per Carry Allowed||4.1(T-6th)||3.3 (1st)|
|Rush Yards Per Game Allowed||87.1(5th)||76.6 (2nd)|
According to the statistics, both teams have slight flaws. The Buccaneers are very stout against the run but can be exploited for yardage through the air. Sean McVay already knows that if he wants to move the ball on offense he will have to attack the young secondary early and often. The focus will be much different from last week’s game and the Rams will have to have a key player step up and win a crucial matchup.
Will the real Goff please stand up ?
Goff has been an enigma this year. He has good games; for example, against Philadelphia. He tossed 267 yards to go along with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Then there is the Dolphins game where he had 355 yards but threw two interceptions and only one touchdown. Overall, he has had a respectable 94.9 QB rating to go along with 13 touchdowns to only six picks. The team seems to ride the rollercoaster with the form of the former #1 pick and he must find a way to create some consistency. To do this, they must lean on a fairly stable committee of backs that have emerged.
Strength on strength
The Buccaneers pride themselves on their rush defense, which is not good news for the running back committee. As we’ve said before, Sean McVay really depends on the run game to control the tempo of the game and against a tough run defense, the tactic falters.
This tempo control game is going to be tricky, especially with the Rams losing left tackle Andrew Whitworth for an extended period of time due to a knee injury. If Goff can show some form of his 2017 and 2018 self and force the Bucs D to accommodate, then the run-game will open up and the offense will put points on the board.
But let’s not just put this all on Goff. He’s not the only one who needs to step it up; his weapons need to up their game.
Receivers vs. the Secondary
The Buccaneers have a bevy of weapons they can use in the air – Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and even newly acquired Antonio Brown are all valuable assets to Brady. The Rams don’t have as deep a receiver core, but they have been effective enough for the Rams to have a 6-3 record. They will have to take advantage of the only flaw the Buccaneers have on their defense; their secondary.
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods have been the main weapons this year. Like Goff, they haven’t been great but they haven’t been bad. They rank 24th and 34th respectively among all players in yards for the year – not particularly impressive.
The key to the Rams receivers is their ability to get yards after catch (YAC) and both Kupp and Woods rank in the top 10 in this stat. Both have been a consistent threat with ball in hand and as a whole unit, the Rams rank 11th in the league in YAC. If the Buccaneers are going to take away the run game, the Rams need to take advantage of their receiver’s ability to gain yards after short passes. They have the perfect unit to do it too. Look for a lot of battles on the line of scrimmage and short passes that will be extended by receivers who fight for more yards.
The rest of the year is going to be tough for the Los Angeles Rams and it starts here with the Buccaneers. This game will show how ready the Rams are for the playoffs.
They will have to go to the air in order to win this, which they haven’t done too much this year but has been a past strength. Goff has the ability to stretch the field and be very effective. He had his best years in 2017 and 2018 and looked like an MVP candidate when he and the offense aired it out effectively.
The former Cal Golden Bear, Jared Goff, will look to upset the Golden Boy, Tom Brady, in order to establish dominance in the NFC. Monday night will be an interesting matchup in primetime.