Monday Night Football: LA Rams vs Tampa Bay Bucs in Defensive Showdown

The Gotta Get Unstuck Game of the Week for Week 11 features the Los Angeles Rams (6-3) visiting the Tampa Bay Bucs (7-3) on Monday Night Football. These two defensive-savvy NFC teams could potentially meet each other in the postseason.

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Two of the top defenses in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Bucs and LA Rams, meet on Monday Night Football.

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Two of the top defenses in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Bucs and LA Rams, meet on Monday Night Football. (Image: LA Rams/Twitter)

Sean McVay’s Rams are fresh off a 23-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week on Sunday Night Football win. The Rams defense allows only 18.7 points per game, or second-best in the NFL. In their last four wins, the Rams allowed just 45 points, or 11.25 points per game.

After losing to the New Orleans Saints for the second time this season, the Tampa Bay Bucs bounced back with a resounding victory over the Carolina Panthers.

The weary Bucs are about to play their 11th game in 11 weeks. They’re one of two teams who have yet to take their bye week (due to a COVID-19 reschedule). Head coach Bruce Arians mentioned that they were tired and looking forward to a bye in Week 13.

MNF: LA Rams (6-3) at Tampa Bay Bucs (7-3)
  • Kick-off: 5:15pm PT
  • Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
  • Point Spread: TB -4.5
  • Total: 48 o/u
  • Money Line: LAR +180 / TB -205

The Rams are a perfect 4-0 at the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, but only 2-3 on the road this season.

The Bucs are 5-2 on Monday Night Football games over the last decade.

According to a recent update by the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Tampa Bay Bucs are 9/1 odds to win the 2021 Super Bowl, while the LA Rams are 18/1 odds.

Donald, Ramsey Anchor LA’s Tough D

The Rams have the second-best defense in the NFL allowing 18.7 points per game, and they’ll face the sixth best scoring offense in the league against a Tampa Bay squad that averages 29.6 ppg.

The Rams are ranked #5 in run defense allowing only 96.8 rushing yards per game. They will face a red-hot Ronald Jones, who snapped off a 98-yard run last week during an epic 192-yard performance.

The Rams’ passing D, ranked #2 in the NFL, allows only 198.7 air yards per game.

LA’s top CB Jalen Ramsey shut down DK Metcalf last week, which is impressive considering Metcalf emerged as one of the top WR in the league this season. Ramsey’s next assignment will be Mike Evans, who’s been nursing different injuries this season.

The Rams harassed Russell Wilson and made the leading MVP candidate look like a mere mortal. The Rams intercepted Wilson twice and sacked him six times.

The New Orleans Saints beat the Bucs twice this season by pressuring Brady. That’s always been the blueprint in the past to beat the New England Patriots. If you can get to Brady and put him on the ground, then you’ll put yourself in a good position to win.

The Bucs O-line only gave up 14 sacks this season, but they know the Rams will be bringing the kitchen sink, especially Aaron Donald (9 sacks). Can the Bucs slow them down?

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Tampa Stone Wall

While Bruce Arians’ offensive philosophy and the revitalization of Tom Brady’s career gets plenty of attention, Tampa Bay’s defense has flown under the radar this season.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is at the helm of one of the top defenses in the NFL, which is ranked #2 in DVOA. The Bucs allow only 22.6 ppg, or ranked #8 in the league in fewest points allowed.

Bowles boasts the best run D in the NFL allowing only 76.6 rushing yards per game. Tampa’s run D faces the Rams’ three-headed rushing monster: Malcolm Brown, Cam Akers, and Darrell Henderson. The Rams scored three rushing touchdowns last week against Seattle with Brown notching two.

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