3 Key Things The Rams Must Do To Advance Against The Buccaneers
The Los Angeles Rams are onto the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs after a dominating win against the Arizona Cardinals. Monday’s matchup featured a complete team win with all three phases showing out at SoFi Stadium. The confidence and momentum are crucial considering the opponent waiting for the Rams on the other side of the country: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 2020 Super Bowl champions, led by none other than Tom Brady, are set to host the Rams this Sunday at 3 pm ET. This matchup is one for the ages with both teams rocking a stout defensive front and highly explosive offenses.
The Rams got the best of the Bucs back in Week 3 of the regular season with a 34-24 win. The playoffs are an entirely different story for every team, especially one led by Tom Brady, but the Rams absolutely have a chance to win this weekend. I have boiled it down to 3 key things that the Rams must do if they plan to head to the NFC championship game.
Pressure The Goat
We can all agree that Tom Brady has reached an untouchable level after all that he has accomplished in football. There seems to be only one way to beat Brady, and that lies in the hands of Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Greg Gaines, Leonard Floyd, and the rest of the Rams defensive front. Tom Brady under pressure is a different story and he is far more likely to make mistakes (like most quarterbacks) if he is being harassed in the backfield.
The Rams defense relentlessly bothered Kyler Murray during Monday night’s playoff game, and they must do the same to Brady. All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs and center Ryan Jensen are both dealing with injuries. We still do not know if they will play on Sunday, but their absence could mean even more potential pressure on Brady. The defensive front of the Rams, as well as their secondary, must remain locked in during every snap. Heavy coverage coupled with extreme pressure at the line of scrimmage could give the Rams a fantastic advantage.
Play Mistake-Free Offensive Football
Now, this point may seem as obvious as giving Cooper Kupp the Offensive Player of the Year Award, but it is crucial that quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense as a whole play mistake-free football. That means no interceptions, no fumbles, no turnovers whatsoever!
The offense has played a couple of sloppy games this season, and not all teams made them pay the price for it. This Bucs team and Tom Brady will absolutely capitalize on any turnover the Rams give them. If the Rams can play smart and clean offensive football, they can control the clock and keep momentum on their side.
The Rams balanced offense on Monday was picture-perfect. They must continue to utilize both Sony Michel and Cam Akers (legendary comeback player) and mix in their superstar wide receivers when the option is open. Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee all got a piece of the action during the Cardinals game.
A clean and balanced offense will be necessary this Sunday, no doubt about it.
Keep Your Foot On The Gas
The last key to unlock the NFC Championship game is consistency. That goes along with taking care of the ball and applying pressure, but I want to take it a step further. If the Rams somehow manage to build up so much as a 3-point lead, they have to keep their foot on the gas. We saw what happened when this team backed off against the Niners in week 18, that type of thing cannot happen again. Tom Brady is never out of a game, even with a score of 28-3, he genuinely is not done until the very last second. The Rams must fight as hard as they can for every minute and every snap if they want to leave Tampa with a win.
What do you think? Which key is most important? Leave a comment below!