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Rams and Bucs are different teams since Week 3, but still present same challenges

Much has changed since the Rams last faced the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers lost wide receivers Chris Godwin (torn ACL) and Antonio Brown (released). The Rams lost wide receiver Robert Woods (torn ACL), traded linebacker Kenny Young, who had a team-high 10 total tackles and a sack in their 34-24 victory, and waived wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had a 75-yard touchdown catch in that victory, but also later added outside linebacker Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr..

Personnel changes and higher stakes are just some of the key differences, but the Buccaneers in some ways also present the same challenges as they did in Week 3, like with quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Rob Gronkowski, among others.

"All those guys," Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey said Thursday, when asked if anyone on the Bucs presents a bigger challenge than in Week 3. "Honestly, it's the same guys they have, their top guys – Tom, Mike, getting (Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette) 'seven' back this week. All those guys who play well in the playoffs, especially last year. They all played well in the playoffs. I'm sure they'll bring it this year as well. So it's just the same guys, but it's more at stake, a bigger level."

In Week 3, Brady was Tampa Bay's leading rusher with 14 of their collective 35 yards – would what be their lowest rushing total of the season. The Bucs rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of their final 14 games.

Brady also threw for 432 yards on 55 pass attempts but only one touchdown – the first of just five games he had one or fewer passing touchdowns all season. He finished with a league-high 43.

Miller said Brady is doing "everything" well. And one of Brady's best attributes is why the Rams won't be overlooking those stepping up in wake of those key personnel changes.

"He does everything well," Miller said Wednesday. "Everybody knows the way he throws the ball, the decisions he makes and how he plays up for big-time games. But I think the thing that really stands out to me is, how he elevates the play of his teammates. It could be anybody out there and he somehow is able to elevate the play of his teammates to a level that they wouldn't normally play at. That's a really good attribute about Tom Brady that I admire."

The Rams, meanwhile, are riding a string of strong performances by Miller and Beckham Jr. going into Sunday's game, with Beckham scoring his sixth touchdown in his last eight games dating back to the regular season, and Miller notching his fifth-straight game with at least one sack.

While Beckham obviously was not part of the two previous meetings between these teams, he's still familiar with how they played out and has an idea of what to expect on Sunday.

"(These are) two heavyweight teams going at each other and only one could win," Beckham said. "You always prepare to win and that's exactly what we want to do. So I just hope that I (can) make some plays to help get this team going, give it a spark whenever we need, and find a way to come out with a W."

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