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key match

Arguably the Buccaneers’ most reliable defensive end, Antoine Winfield Jr. is still suffering from a concussion after colliding with running back Raheem Blaskshear in a tackle against the Panthers. The hybrid safety/nickel corner is a question mark for Sunday’s clash against the Rams, and several players could rotate in role if Winfield is unable to adapt. “We’re going to mix the guys up a bit depending on how we’re going to play,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “He is [Sean Murphy-Bunting] played it before, Dee [Delaney] played it, mike [Edwards] played it, Zyon [McCollum] even played it. We’ll continue to monitor throughout the week and see how everyone feels.”

Whoever competes as a slot corner for Tampa Bay gets to see a good helping of Cooper Kupp. The 2021 triple crown winner is a nuanced route runner adept at racking up yards after catches with skill at the top of routes. Kupp successfully finds the gaps in the opposing defense and exploits them. In 2022, due to Kupp’s experience on drag routes and editing the intermediate area of ​​the field, teams began using more Cover 3s against the Rams in an attempt to mitigate LA’s efficiency. Kupp is also a strong blocker at the attack point and has quick changes of direction. The Rams’ all-around phenom has established itself in this position among the league’s elite and has garnered praise from Bowles.

“He’s doing everything well. He’s blocking, he’s running routes, he’s in, he’s out, he’s in the backfield, he’s at the scrimmage line, he’s on the move, he’s throwing passes, he’s catching the ball, he’s a very intelligent player, he has a lot of smarts, he’s also a very athletic player, he’s a good size – it doesn’t show up when he’s blocking, but he’s a good size to come at you, he’s one of those rare players who stop by every couple [of] years but he’s a great player.”

Todd Bowles’ impression of Sean McVay

For the first time in Sean McVay’s head coaching career, the Rams will set a regular-season record of under.500 (3-4) in 2022. Despite the team’s current status, the Rams have reached new heights under the tutelage of young offensive guru McVay. The Rams are 55-27 in McVay’s six seasons in Los Angeles, winning three NFC West titles, two NFC Championships and one Super Bowl title following the 2021 season. His innovative coaching has taken the NFL world by storm over the past few years and has received recognition from his peers. From behind the podium, Bowles described his impression of a McVay-led offense.

“He’s the head coach, it’s his offense. They have a very good offense; he has a very good scheme that he directs. He’s a very intelligent guy. They can do power running, they can do edge running, they can boot- they have a fast game, they have a deep game – they have a lot of people who are very smart players. They’re doing a very good job on the offensive line – they’ve got some big guys down there [and] they protect themselves very well. It makes it difficult to play when you have a signal caller trying to throw you off balance all the time.

Let the chess game begin.

Stacking wins

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stood out in troubling tendencies against the Ravens Thursday night soccer, shocking disillusionment. The Buccaneers are currently at a pivotal point two months into the 2022 NFL roster, having lost five of their last six contests. Tampa Bay holds a 3-5 record after losing to Baltimore and currently ranks second in the NFC South. This contested period marks the first stretch since Tom Brady’s arrival that the Bucs have lost three games in a row. Now the Buccaneers will look to hold their ground against the Rams in week nine. The rivalry game fuels unfinished business. The matchup serves as a repeat of the 2021 Divisional Round competition. In their quest to win Super Bowl LVI, the Rams endured several tough knocks to reach the ultimate goal, including the defending champions and the 2nd-seeded Buccaneers in that clash in the division round. Tom Brady led the Bucs to a second-half comeback and led the team to 21 unanswered points to keep the game at 27 with 40 seconds left on the clock. However, a Matthew Stafford connection with Cooper Kupp after a sweeping Bucs blitz resulted in the team’s game-winning field goal and brought the Bucs’ picture-perfect season to an abrupt end. Now, nine months later, the two franchises meet again.

“It might bring back some memories to see them back in the stadium, so we definitely have a chip on our shoulders,” said cornerback Carlton Davis III. “Right now we’re just trying to get one win – stacking the wins… I mean, we’re just taking it one day at a time – trying to get back on track. No one is immune to obstacles and when the season doesn’t go your way. It’s football. And we will fight our way through.”


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