The Los Angeles Rams were blown out by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8, giving them a 3-4 record entering Week 9. The Rams will want to get back in the win column in a showdown with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Since Brady has arrived in Tampa Bay, the Rams have gone 3-0 against the Buccaneers. The last matchup between these two teams came in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs a season, where Los Angeles secured a 30-27 win on a game-winning field goal by Matt Gay.
With both teams desperately needing a win, here are five players to watch on the Rams in their Week 9 showdown with the Buccaneers.
Van Jefferson returned from a knee injury in Week 8 to make his season debut against the 49ers. The former second-round pick played on 53 percent of the Rams’ offensive snaps in his first game of the season, but he failed to log a single target.
Matthew Stafford took time to apologize — either to the media or Jefferson himself — for Jefferson’s lack of targets in his season debut. The Rams certainly need another wide receiver to step up alongside Cooper Kupp, especially with the All-Pro wideout dealing with an ankle ailment.
Expect Jefferson to get more snaps and targets in his second game back from a knee injury.
The Rams got Brian Allen back in Week 8 after he was sidelined since Week 1 after undergoing a knee procedure. The veteran center would perform well in his return, and after facing the stout defensive front of the 49ers, he’ll be tasked with lining up across Vita Vea in Week 9.
Vea is a gigantic human being that does nothing but move what is in his way, out of the way. While being one of the most formidable run defenders in the NFL, Vea has already recorded a career-high 4.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
The Rams deploy Jalen Ramsey in a variety of ways, moving him from the slot to the outside, or even blitzing him off of the edge. Under Raheem Morris, Ramsey hasn’t been tasked with shadowing the opposing team’s No. 1 wide receiver consistently.
On Sunday, the Buccaneers will have two talented wideouts in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin that the Rams will hope to contain. Considering that Ramsey will play in multiple spots, he’ll see plenty of Evans and Godwin in Week 9. A competitor like Ramsey would like nothing more but to make a game-changing play on Brady.
Amid the lopsided loss to the 49ers, there were some positives to come out of the game for the Rams. One of the positives was Leonard Floyd easily had his best performance of the season in Week 8.
After failing to register a sack in the first six games of the season, Floyd notched two sacks and two tackles for loss while leading the Rams with nine tackles. The talented edge rusher will hope to carry over his momentum from Week 8 into Week 9 as he’ll likely see plenty of Tristan Wirfs on Sunday.
It was a rough outing for Derion Kendrick in Week 8 against the 49ers. The rookie cornerback has performed well amid all of the injuries in the secondary that the Rams have endured, but he allowed multiple big plays and had busted coverages in the loss last week.
Regardless of what position you play, you have to have a short memory and move on to the next game. Brady loves to target young defensive backs, and with Kendrick expected to see plenty of Evans and Godwin, he could hear his name called often. Kendrick could gain a ton of confidence with a productive showing in Week 9 against the Buccaneers.