It will be a busy month of travel for the Rams, starting with a road game against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay in Week 9. Kickoff on Sunday from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. pacific time on CBS.
In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-Buccaneers.
Notable Buccaneers additions
- Re-signed RB Leonard Fournette to a 3-year deal in March: Fournette remains an important piece to Tampa Bay's offense, and while he's not statistically one of the NFL's leading rushers this season, his physical running style and catching ability make him someone opposing defenses always have to account for.
- Acquired G Shaq Mason in trade with Patriots: Sending a 2022 fifth-round pick to New England helped the Bucs replace departed starting right guard Alex Cappa in free agency. He was one of four new starters for Tampa Bay's offensive line entering the 2022 season.
Top performers in Week 8
QB Tom Brady completed 26 of 44 passes for 325 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Bucs' 27-22 home loss to the Ravens.
Fournette led Tampa Bay's backfield with 24 rushing yards and one touchdown on nine carries.
WR Mike Evans led the Bucs' receivers with 123 yards on six catches; WR Chris Godwin also had six catches but finished with 75 yards.
Defensively, S Mike Edwards paced the unit with 12 total tackles, while DT Vita Vea, OLB Shaq Barrett and OLB Joe Tryon each recorded a sack.
On special teams, K Ryan Succop made all three of his field goal attempts and his lone extra point attempt, while P Jake Camarda averaged 53.4 yards per punt across four punts.
Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams
While it's usually been about the Rams' offensive line vs. the opponent's defensive line, in this case it's about both teams' offensive lines.
Between the abrupt retirement of center Ali Marpet this spring, Cappa's departure and guard Aaron Stinnie's season ending knee injury in late August, the Buccaneers entered this season with three new starters along the interior of their offensive line. The Rams likewise have had lots of moving parts along their offensive line, between the retirement of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and a rash of injuries like they've never experienced, especially along the interior of the offensive line.
The impact of those circumstances has been noticeable for both teams. How will it play out on Sunday?
Speaking of the trenches, there's also an interesting dynamic at play there between the Bucs losing one of their top pass rushers in Shaq Barrett to a season-ending torn Achilles last Thursday while one of the Rams' in Leonard Floyd started to look like himself again.
The skill players on both offenses will get a lot of attention, but what will arguably be worth watching more closely is the play at the line of scrimmage.