Sunday is here again, and the Rams find themselves on the road this week as they look to push their record over .500 against the Tampa Bay Bucs. This is another very winnable game, but this team has to prove they can win on the road before we truly buy in to what they are selling. Much like the Rams, the Bucs have been a surprise in 2010, and also much like the Rams, Tampa still has a long way to go. Here are my keys to the game for the Rams this week.
Youth Is Served – We here in St. Louis know what it’s like to have a young QB under center, and Tampa is being led by second-year man Josh Freeman. I think Bradford’s accuracy as a passer is significantly better than Freeman’s, but Freeman is capable of changing the game with his athleticism. The Rams defense has to make sure they keep Freeman under control when he gets out of the pocket if they are going to win this game. If Freeman is contained, I think the Bucs will have a very difficult time moving the ball.
Runnin’ For The Record – SJ39 could very well become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher tomorrow, and if the Rams are going to win, he will do just that. I’m not sold on the Tampa defense just yet, and I think we will be able to run the ball. Steven needs to get his game established, because the Bucs secondary can force turnovers if they can sit back and play the pass.
The Danario Effect – At this point I don’t really know what to expect from WR Danario Alexander this week. I would like to think he can be a major factor like he was last week, but he won’t be sneaking up on the Bucs after four catches and 72 yards last week. He is certainly a big play threat, and I expect the team to have some specific packages ready for him much like they did last week. Let’s see if this guy is really as good as we think. It looks like Mardy Gilyard might not be able to go, so if he is sidelined it is even more important for DX to step up.
Bradford Depression? – As much as I loved watching the Mizzou Tigers take down the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night, I hope Sam doesn’t take the loss of his alma mater too hard. If Bradford is up all night sobbing in his hotel room, he might be a little sluggish Sunday morning. He needs to put the Sooners’ loss behind him and be 100 percent prepared for Tampa.
In case you couldn’t tell, that last one was a joke. But let’s be honest, it was excellent watching that Mizzou win. Anyway, I really like this matchup for the Rams, and I think we could make a statement this week by getting that road win. Let’s go with a 24-17 Rams victory this week for the prediction.