2019 Offseason Opponent Breakdown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of the club's opponents for next season.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Rams will welcome the Buccaneers to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum next season for the first time since 1978. The matchup means a reunion of sorts for head coach Sean McVay, who started his NFL coaching career as an assistant in Tampa back in 2008.

The Buccaneers will get a crack at the defending NFC Champs after going 5-11 in 2018 as the NFC South's caboose.

Here's an early look at the Buccaneers:

2018

Tampa Bay was hot out of the gate in 2018, starting 2-0 against the Saints and Eagles in Weeks 1 and 2 and riding the hot hand of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The veteran signal caller opened the season with three-straight games of at least 400 yards passing.

The Buccaneers offense moved the ball well with and without Fitzpatrick, boasting the league's No. 3 yards per game average in 2018. It was a defensive sore spot that plagued the Bucs much of last season, as the unit finished No. 31 in points allowed.

Matchup History

The Rams are 16-8 all time against the Bucs and will look to make it six wins in a row next season. The teams last met in Week 3 of the 2016 season, when the Rams spoiled the Bucs' home opener in a 37-32 come-from-behind victory.

Defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks got on the other end of a strip sack by former defensive end Robert Quinn and took the fumble recovery 77 yards for a touchdown in the game.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

The Bucs lost linebacker Kwon Alexander to free agency and responded by signing a pair of veteran backers in Deon Bucannon and Shaquil Barrett.

As far as significant changes on offense, the Bucs lost Fitzpatrick in free agency as he heads south to Miami, and the club traded wide receiver DeSean Jackson and a 2020 seventh-round pick to Philadelphia for a sixth-round pick in this month's draft.

Arians' offense will also feature former Browns wideout Breshad Perriman, who agreed to a one-year deal following Cleveland's move to land wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Head Coach

The Bucs will be led by Bruce Arians in 2019, who has some experience against the NFC West.

Arians gears up for year one in Tampa Bay after spending a season away from the NFL sidelines, following five years in Arizona. A two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year, Arians went 49-30-1 leading the Cardinals and took the club to back-to-back postseasons in 2014 and 2015.

He earned his first head coaching stint as an interim in Indianapolis, while former head coach Chuck Pagano underwent cancer treatment.

What to Watch For

Arians is 5-5 against the Rams as a head coach, but is winless in two chances against the McVay-led Rams. Quarterback Jameis Winston is also heading into a critical fifth professional season, where his performance in a game against a team like Los Angeles could go a long way to determining his future.

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