Buccaneers G Marpet doubtful for MNF, allowing optimism for the LA Rams defense to meet Brady frequently on MNF
The LA Rams have been to Florida once before this season when the Rams faced the Miami Dolphins. But the outcome of the game was not what anyone expected. Under a blazing sun that created as much as a 50-degree temperature difference between the two teams (Rams – 130 degrees, Dolphins – 80 degrees).
Of course, toss in the distance traveled of 2,336 miles one-way, the time zone difference of the game starting three hours earlier than west coast teams, which translated into a 10:00 am PT start time for the game. All told, the event included a host of reasons why the Rams found themselves fighting an uphill battle the entire game.
Different game, different outcome
That will not be the case for this game in Florida. With the later start, the LA Rams actually benefit from a game that starts at 5:15 pm PT. That is 8:15 pm ET for the Buccaneers, which is a much different time to start for a senior veteran quarterback like Tom Brady. We also know that the temperatures for this one will be more favorable for the LA Rams, at a daytime high of 80 degrees and falling to 60 through the evening into the night.
The Rams are coming off of a significant victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also coming off a victory over the Carolina Panthers. That pits the two potential post-season adversaries against one another in what could be an NFL Playoff rematch in several months.
Rams banged up
The LA Rams lost three starters in their win over the Seattle Seahawks. As of now, the Rams will start Joseph Noteboom at left tackle, likely rotate in Nick Scott as the third safety and will feature either kicker Austin MacGinnis or Matt Gay on kickoffs and field goals. Noteboom held up rather well to finish off the Seahawks game, and he will test his prowess against the Bucs defensive line.
But the most significant news is the potential absence of Tampa Bay Buccaneers left guard Ali Marpet, who suffered a concussion against the New York Giants and missed the next two games. The Bucs tried OL Joe Haeg against the New Orleans Saints and were displeased with the results, so they moved the center, Ryan Jensen, to left guard and swapped in veteran C A.Q. Shipley against the Carolina Panthers.
The Buccaneers will make the final decision before game time.
Rams defensive line could be the difference in this one
A year ago, the LA Rams had no answer to the Bucs passing attack. Bucs WR Chris Godwin riddled the Rams for 12 of 14 completions for 172 yards and two touchdowns. While some point to Antonio Brown or Mike Evans as a threat, I don’t see the Rams winning this one if Godwin is given a chance to repeat those numbers.
If the Bucs field Jensen and Shipley in the interior, you can bet that will be a focal point for the Rams defense. With the return of A’Shawn Robinson, the Rams proved to be stout in the middle, freeing up both Leonard Floyd and Terrell Lewis to take down Russell Wilson five times.
Immobile Tom Brady
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not nearly as mobile, so the Bucs will be forced into a short passing attack in this one. Even with less time, the Rams defensive line should be able to keep Brady plenty of company in this one.
The Saints defense dominated the Bucs by keeping Brady uncomfortable. Playing with an unfamiliar center is certainly a great starting point. Of course, the Rams will need to do more and I expect that they will. Brady will pick any defense apart if he has time. The Saints denied him that time early and frustrated him to a point where he became a non-factor. Now the Rams must replicate that performance.
Without Ali Marpet at left guard, there will be a good chance many LA Rams defenders will meet Tom Brady in this one.