Rams-Bucs is the most important sport of Week 3 of the NFL. On one hand, we have now the reigning Tremendous Bowl champion Buccaneers, and on the opposite lies arguably essentially the most proficient staff within the NFC. These groups met final 12 months in Week 11 of final season with the Rams taking the victory by a rating of 27-24. Tom Brady struggled in that sport, finishing simply 54.2 % of his passes for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. Jared Goff, in the meantime, threw for 376 yards, three touchdowns, and two picks, whereas finishing 76.5 % of his passes. Clearly, quite a bit can occur on any given Sunday and this sport from final season shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of an indicator for predicting how this weekend will unfold. What must be extra fastidiously checked out although is the absence of Antonio Brown for this sport.
Antonio Brown joined the Bucs throughout Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season. The sport in opposition to the Rams was his third sport with Tampa. In that sport, Brown paced the Buccaneers in targets, receptions, and yards as Brady’s predominant weapon out of the slot, and it’s very doable that weapon won’t be obtainable on Sunday as a result of COVID concerns.
Slot receivers have been a continuing ache within the aspect of the Los Angeles Rams. Regardless of the Rams being top-of-the-line groups at sustaining high-level performance out of the slot receiver place, they don’t appear to defend it very nicely. Loads of that in all probability has to do with the presence of Jalen Ramsey on the skin. Most groups line up their greatest receiver on the skin, not in tight on the slot place. Jalen Ramsey tends to shadow opposing groups’ greatest receivers. Within the sport in opposition to Tampa Bay final 12 months, Ramsey was lined up throughout Mike Evans on virtually each single play. Ramsey’s presence forces opposing quarterbacks to have a look at their different receivers and that might be a giant purpose why slot receivers have a tendency to take action nicely in opposition to the Rams, simply sheer quantity from the shortage of passes thrown to their prime receivers. Nonetheless, there’s sure to be one thing larger at play as nicely, proper?
Whether or not it’s a good finish or receiver lining up within the slot, the Rams appear to wrestle in opposition to receivers within the center. Because the begin of 2020, Rams opponents have seen both their tight finish or main slot receiver lead their staff in receptions and/or receiving yards in 40 % of their video games. That won’t sound like a giant quantity, however needless to say the Rams are in the identical division because the Cardinals and Seahawks — two groups that nearly by no means use their tight ends and whose largest threats all line up on the skin. Usually, in opposition to the Rams it’s guys like Cole Beasley, Jamison Crowder, and tight ends like George Kittle who do severe injury.
On this Buccaneers offense, Brown is without doubt one of the most harmful slot receivers within the NFL. His possible absence on Sunday goes to make it all of the tougher for Tampa Bay to make the most of the Rams’ shortcomings. If solely there was somebody able to stepping in for Brown! A slot receiver able to being a severe risk who hasn’t been used practically as a lot as he ought to due to how deep this Tampa Bay large receiver corps is.
Scotty Miller is quick, not blazing, however quick. He ran an unofficial 4.36 40-yard sprint whereas at Bowling Inexperienced. Nonetheless, Miller was assured sufficient to challenge Tyreek Hill to a race final season. He’s a very good receiver too, when given the possibility. In 2020, Miller had a catch fee of 62.5 % and an average depth of target practically 16 yards downfield. What meaning is that Miller is a deep risk. On simply 33 receptions in 2020, Miller accrued over 500 yards by the air, and he did all of it out of the slot.
Whereas it’s simple to assume that Brown’s absence ought to imply extra targets for the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Gronk doesn’t line up in the slot very often on this Tampa Bay offense. He’s getting used extra as a checkdown choice and somebody who can exit for brief routes after a chip block on an edge rusher. This leaves the door large open for Miller to take an enormous leap this week.
Miller did have “breakout” sort video games in 2020 just like what I’m anticipating. In Week 4, in opposition to the Chargers, Miller went for 5 receptions, 83 yards, and a landing, and in Week 7 in opposition to the Raiders, Miller crossed the century mark, accruing 109 yards on six catches and one rating. So, a giant sport in opposition to LA isn’t absurd to assume, and I’m actually not the first person to level out Miller’s significance within the absence of AB, however it’s value noting simply how vital a powerful inside choice is in opposition to LA. Scotty Miller is actually no family title, however he’s confirmed that he can come up clutch when his staff wants him to.
The Rams are some of the full rosters within the NFL, however so is Tampa Bay. The Bucs’ protection isn’t as stout because it was final 12 months although. Certain, they’ve been phenomenal in opposition to the run, however they’ve allowed big video games from each Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan to start out the season. Matt Stafford has the very best supporting forged to place up a very good combat in opposition to Tampa, so the Bucs might want to pull out all of the stops to be able to stay undefeated. Miller might be the final word ace up their sleeve.