Buccaneers: 3 keys to a victory in Week 3 versus the Rams

Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have their hands full on Sunday afternoon as they visit the Los Angeles Rams. Most expect a close, competitive game that may come down to a few key plays here or there to determine a winner.

Based on this fact, here are 3 vital keys that can enhance the reigning Super Bowl Champions’ chances of leaving Hollywood with a 3-0 record. One each for the offense, defense and special teams.

1.  The Buccaneers offense must ensure they get any points deep in Rams territory

Three times in the first two games against Los Angeles this season, including twice inside the 10 yard line in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts, Rams opponents were prevented from scoring deep in their territory. They didn’t even attempt a field goal. That was a major factor in the Rams winning a game 27-24 that they should have lost.

The Bucs have to get points of any kind in any form at every opportunity. Sure, a trip to the end zone is always better than kicking for three, but it is the accumulation during the entire 60 minutes that determines a winner or loser. Ask the Colts today if they wish they would have just taken the 6 points last week.

2.  The defense must make Matthew Stafford try to find to a receiver other than Cooper Kupp

This seems pretty obvious, but it is pretty important. No one so far has been able to prevent Stafford from finding his number one guy this season, as Kupp has over 250 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns so far.

The Buccaneers know that Stafford will lean on Kupp heavily. Can the Rams new signal caller trust or be content to go to his other pass catchers all day if Kupp can’t be found? Tampa Bay would be well-served to find out.

3.  Do not let winning or losing be determined late by Matt Gay

The Rams’ field goal kicker has found a home after being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2019 and run out of town due to his inability to do his job well enough.  Even though he was able to make a clutch kick for the visitors last season at Raymond James Stadium, he surely hasn’t forgotten his history with his first NFL team.

Neither have Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers. So the best course of action for this key is Tampa Bay being far enough ahead at game’s end that a former player looking to get more payback doesn’t have the chance to do so.  The best revenge is always having more points on the scoreboard than the opponent.

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