The first week of the regular season has come and gone, but now it’s time to move forward. This Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the St. Louis Rams to Ray-Jay while we induct the legendary Derrick Brooks into the Ring of Honor. This game is sure to be full of emotion for many reasons. Not only will the Brooks induction have people excited, but this absolutely needs to be the Buccaneers first win of the season.
Losing your season opener is not a good way to start, but it doesn’t ruin things. The very team that beat us lost their season opener last year, and they ended up the NFC South Champions. However, 0-2 would be more difficult to bounce back from. A big question mark remains as to which Bucs we’ll see on Sunday. Will we see the first three quarter Bucs who looked completely inept against Carolina and Greg “Jimmy Graham” Olsen? Or will we see the fourth quarter Bucs who forced three and outs and moved the ball down the field?
I don’t think there’s much chance that the Bucs will look as inept as they did in the earlier part of the season opener. The Rams defense is respectable, but it’s certainly not as elite as the Panthers defense. In order for the offense to get a rhythm earlier, the running back corps needs to deliver right out of the gate.
Whether that be Doug Martin or Bobby Rainey, someone has to start putting up yardage. Jorvorskie Lane may have helped our numbers with his 54-yard run last game, but Rainey and Martin only put up a combined 21 rushing yards. With an established run game, Josh could easily get on a roll with the offense. He proved in the fourth quarter last week what he can do, he just has to do it sooner.
Most importantly, the defense has to capitalize on turnovers. I don’t know if Josh and the boys will march down the field like they did late against Carolina, but even something mediocre will do if the defense can take advantage of their moments. The Rams may have lost 34-6 to the Minnesota Vikings, but they actually put up 273 passing yards between the two quarterbacks who played.
That’s more yards than Matt Cassel managed in defeating them, and it’s more yards than Derek Anderson managed while defeating us last week. What happened? Both of the Rams’ quarterbacks threw an interception, they converted only four of 14 third downs, and they fumbled the ball four times throughout the game. They managed to recover each fumble, but those are the kind of mistakes our defense absolutely has to take advantage of.
The way the Rams were playing last week, they should’ve ended the game having committed seven turnovers. Even the two that the Vikings were able to take advantage of was enough to turn the tide. Their defense wasn’t as stout as they’d been hoping, and allowed too many big plays. Their offensive line is atrocious, and is definitely partly to blame for those turnovers. That includes former Buccaneer Davin Joseph at right guard. All of these issues led to the Vikings handily winning the game.
In order for the Buccaneers to win, a few key things have to happen. The Bucs must bring pressure, contain the run, create and capitalize on turnovers, and get an offensive rhythm. It sounds like a lot of factors, but they’re more than capable. If these things come together and St. Louis plays like they did last week, there’s no reason that the Buccaneers shouldn’t just about embarrass the Rams.
The Buccaneers won’t be able to get revenge on the Panthers until later this season, but you can bet the team will be taking its frustration out on St. Louis. The Rams may have a better mascot than Carolina, but their team is about to fear the cannons. Rampage and the Rams need to be made an example of.
Prediction: Buccaneers win, 27-9
(Disagree? Then comment below!)