The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to stop their four game losing skid this week as the St. Louis Rams come into town for the final home game at Tampa this year. Both teams will be looking to add their seventh win on the season, something that should please both fan bases after their terrible 2011 seasons.
For the Buccaneers they need to show some life after looking like they packed it in early last week against the New Orleans Saints. One player that needs to show up is Josh Freeman. After an outstanding eight game stretch midway through the season his play has tapered off and looked hardly like the guy that he was just mere weeks ago.
Freeman needs help from the running game and figure Doug Martin to get a heavy dose of the rock this week after Adrian Peterson tore up the Rams defense for over 200 yards on the ground. When Martin and the running game is going effectively it allows Freeman to establish the play action where he is at his best hitting the deep routes.
The offensive line is up for a big challenge this week as it goes against the very stout line of the Rams. They can create pressure from only their front four and expect them to put the heat on Freeman who has been getting hit more and more as the weeks have gone on.
A good match up will be between Vincent Jackson and Courtland Finnegan. Both players have been huge pickups for the respective teams and whoever can win this individual battle will probably win the game for their team.
Defensively there just isn’t too much hope in the passing game for the Buccaneers. Even against a sub-par receiving corps, expect Sam Bradford to tear up the Buccaneers secondary. They haven’t been able to stop anyone this year and with just two games left; don’t expect anything different this week.
Chris Givens should have a big game as the Buccaneers have struggled against receivers with speed. Expect at least one long touchdown with a good chance to go over 100 yards in the game.
The one hope for the Buccaneers on defense is the sturdy play of the run defense throughout the year. Gerald McCoy and the linebackers have played a big role in leading the league with negative plays on the year. While they have often forced long third downs, the defense has failed to get off the field all year in those situations.
For the Bucs to get back on the winning track they will need a big game from their offense. They simply can’t have a sup par from Freeman and the rest of the offense in this game yet again.
Unfortunately I don’t think this week bodes well for the Bucs, I have Bradford and the Rams winning this game 24-21.