The Buccaneers have advanced to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and will host the Los Angeles Rams Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs have not had good luck against the Rams, going 1-2 against LA the last two years, including a 34-24 loss to the Rams in LA earlier this season.
The Bucs are beat up right now, especially along the offensive line. Tackle Tristan Wirfs and center Ryan Jensen were not at practice Wednesday afternoon. Running Back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Cyril Grayson were also no-shows, although jones worked out on his own with a trainer.
Bruce Arians said that Wirfs is still in a walking boot. He will be evaluated on Friday and see what he can do from a practice standpoint before determining whether he can play on Sunday.
With Von Miller rushing off the left side that could be problematic on the right side of the Bucs line when it comes to protecting Brady. Center Ryan Jensen is also banged up and he will be matched up against the best defensive linemen in football, Aaron Donald if he is cleared to play.
Leonard Fournette is still on IR, and a decision will not come to activate him until Thursday at the earliest after a full practice and possibly Friday at the latest.
The Bucs could activate newly signed wide receiver John Brown, who the Bucs signed to the practice squad last week.
The Rams have been hot and cold all season. They lost to San Francisco at home in the season finale, a game that allowed the 49ers to get into the playoffs. The Rams were up 17-3 at the half, let the 49ers back in the game, and eventually lost 27-24 in overtime. This loss cost the Rams the second seed in the playoffs.
The Rams showed Monday night why many analysts are picking the Rams to play in the Super Bowl, as they dismantled the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 in their wildcard game on Monday night.
The results of this game make it hard to gauge how good the Rams are. The Cardinals were awful in every phase of the game, and the Rams weren’t tested at all.
Sunday afternoon, the Rams will play on the road in a very loud and raucous Raymond James Stadium and experience a stadium environment unlike any other this season on the road.
When the two teams met earlier this season, the Bucs missed Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting in the defensive backfield. Both should be ready for the game on
In that loss to the Rams, Dee Delaney was pressed into service, having played just five snaps in his NFL career. He had the task of covering wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp torched Delaney with nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
With a healthy defensive backfield except for Sean Murphy-Bunting, I would expect the secondary to play much better against Cooper Kupp.
The Bucs are three-point favorites in Sunday’s game against the Rams.