Well, here we are back again for another match up against the Bucs. Seriously the NFL needs to just go ahead and make the Bucs apart of the NFC West; or the Rams apart of NFC South. These two teams play each other far too often to be in different divisions.
With that being said, the match up against Tampa Bay is one of the few constant wins the Rams have to boast against any team in recent years, regardless of division. The Rams lead the series 15-8 and have won the last four meetings from 2012-2015. The Bucs' last win in the head-to-head series came in 2010 in a 18-17 victory.
If history has any say so, the Rams should be victorious.
- QB Jameis Winston was having some fun talking some friendly trash talk with DT Aaron Donald at the Pro Bowl earlier in 2016. He mentioned to him "you're just mad you didn't sack me". While this was friendly and Donald surely laughed it off at the time, I have a hard time believing someone as competitive as Donald is going to let it go as a joke. And he likely told his defensive line companions about this joke. The Bucs haven't given Jameis the greatest protection thus far in his career, and I expect it to look like a jail break more often than not. Aaron Donald and company will compile six sacks at the bare minimum. And Robert Quinn will have two of those.
- While Winston is sure to be sacked and hit a lot -- which was the case last year against the Rams -- I still fully expect him to have a good game. Last year he threw for over 300 yards, and I expect that to happen again. He did this last year against better talent in the secondary and a potent pass rush. With less talent deep, the few times when Winston is allowed to get the ball off clean, I believe WR Mike Evans will absolutely bully both CB Coty Sensabaugh and CB Troy Hill. It's possible that CB Trumaine Johnson gets the nod to follow him, in which case Winston will have WR Vincent Jackson and his monstrous tight ends to feed. And do not count out the possibility of the backs having about 75 yards receiving from the back field.
- RB Todd Gurley will finally get off. The Bucs don't have as good a run defense as the 49ers and Seahawks. Lavonte David is damn good, and one of the best, but he's no Navarro Bowman. Gerald McCoy is also one of the best, but he's no Aaron Donald (insert evil laugh and crooked grin). Outside of those two, there's really not a lot of good run defenders. And the Bucs secondary is one of the few that's more shaky than the Rams, so they might not feel as confident stacking the box like other teams. Gurley should be able to find some creases and exploit them. So if you have Gurley in fantasy hold tight, because this could very well be your week. Gurley goes for a buck thirty or more, you heard it here first.
- We will see our first special teams touchdown of the regular season. Last year RB Benny Cunningham had a helluva return against the Bucs but fell shy of reaching the goal line by two yards. And this year he still won't score on a return. However. Tavon Austin may very well crib one. No matter who it is, you can bet that there will be a special teams touchdown in some form or fashion.
- The Rams will win. While I am expecting Jameis to go off, and QB Case Keenum to struggle early on. WR Kenny Britt is going to save his day after halftime. Britt will catch four second-half passes and score the first touchdown of the season. With Gurley running well, playaction will become his best friend.....