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Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Matchups to Watch

The Rams are 1-1 with a chance to go 2-1 for the first time under Jeff Fisher. They've beat Tampa Bay four straight seasons. Here are some matchups to watch as the Rams look to add another win.

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The Rams could potentially have some players suit up for the first time this season when the take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Players like CB E.J. Gaines and WRs Nelson Spruce and Pharoh Cooper could have big roles if the Rams are to pull out a victory. Here a some matchups the Rams will either look to exploit or be challenged to defend in week 3.

WR Mike Evans vs. CBs Troy Hill/E.J. Gaines

Evans will line up all over the offense. When he splits out to the left end he will likely see a lot of either Hill or Gaines. With Trumaine Johnson primarily sticking to the left side of the defense, teams will likely target Hill more often as long as Gaines is out. It may be a few years in the past but Gaines has familiarity with Evans dating back to their college days when Texas A&M and Missouri faced each other and in the 2014 contest in Tampa Bay, Evans was held to just four catches for 49 yards. For what its worth, Evans put up nine catches for 157 yards on Thursday Night's game in 2015 while Gaine's was out with injury. With RB Doug Martin ruled out, Evans becomes Tampa Bay's clear number one option on offense.

DE Robert Quinn vs. LT Donovan Smith

Smith is battling an injury this week and has been limited in practice. The second year tackle will have his hands full with Quinn, who started to look like his former all-pro self against the Seahawks. Quinn's pass rush was frequently causing Seattle issues and Quinn has the ability to do the same against Smith. If there are lingering issues from Smith's hip injury, we should find out fairly early on during the game. When Quinn is bringing his A game, it can ruin entire offensive game plans.

RB Charles Sims vs. Rams LBs

As mentioned before, Doug Martin is out this week. Charles Sims has been tabbed as the lead back by Bucs Head Coach Dirk Koetter. While Sims has not proven to be as effective as Martin as a rusher, he is a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield. Sims and the Bucs offense had a rough week two in Arizona but Sims still managed to run 26 routes(4th most by RBs). In week one Sims had three catches for 32 yards and a score. In 2015, Sims had over 1000 yards total, with over half coming through the air. The Rams LBs will have to account for Sims as a pass catcher and use their sideline to sideline speed to cut him off. The Rams could see quite a few screen plays if they are able to shut down Sims rushing attack. Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron are both coming off good games against Seattle.

DT Gerald McCoy vs. Rams Interior OL

It will take a group effort to stop McCoy this Sunday. Much like the Rams Aaron Donald, McCoy can wreak absolute havoc as a pass rusher. McCoy has three consecutive seasons with at least 8.5 sacks and already has one this season. Rams C Tim Barnes didn't have the best game last week vs Seattle. The Rams may finally have settled on Cody Wichmann at RG but he's been underwhelming, to say the least. The Rams can't allow McCoy to blow up plays and disrupt the heart of the offensive line. It could be another rough day for Todd Gurley running lanes if so.

WR Kenny Britt vs. CB Vernon Hargreaves

Though he has yet to score a TD, Britt has been QB Case Keenum's best receiving option by far at the start of 2016. Coming off a week two game in which he was able to haul in six catches for 94 yards, Britt has flashed some receiving ability we have not seen in years around these parts. This week he should see a lot of Tampa Bay's top rookie pick in Hargreaves. It's a matchup that will be a failure if the Rams don't try to test him deep, something Britt excels at. Last season, Britt and Keenum were able to connect on a deep TD pass against these Bucs on TNF. Hargreaves was a first round pick for a reason and has flashed some of that ability early in 2016 but he's still a rookie. Britt should see a healthy dose of targets this Sunday and test Hargreaves.