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A Preview Of Week 7

When Tampa is running: The Bucs are averaging 3.6 ypc, mostly from Freeman scrambles. The Rams are allowing 4.4. While I’d like to see more college-style plays in which Tampa experiments with both some combination of Graham with either Blount or Williams and try to overload one side and move the pile, their lack of success has not changed. Edge: St. Louis.
When Tampa is passing: St. Louis won last week, in part, because of a big end-zone interception by OJ Atogwe. They have 17 sacks in six games this year and eight different players for them have notched one.  Bradley Fletcher (2 INT, 6 PD) has emerged as a good corner but he is no match for Mike Williams. So far, in Mike’s short career, he hasn’t gone two weeks without a touchdown. Freeman’s success in this game will go a long way toward determining how good Olson is as a coordinator to adjust to what defenses are doing, how much of last game was the New Orleans defense, and how much of last game was back-from-the-bye flatness. Edge: Tampa Bay.
When St. Louis is running: Last week, when they absolutely needed it, the Rams were able to run out the clock. That said, the average the same as Tampa Bay does. The Bucs have struggled against what would be considered playoff-caliber offenses. They also needed each turnover against a barely above average Cincinnati offense. The Rams are 28th in scoring with 17.2 points per game (it was a pathetic 10.9 PPG last year). I’m going to go out on a limb here and think Steven Jackson will have a decent game.  Edge: St. Louis, slightly.
When St. Louis is passing: Sam Bradford is blazing new trails among rookie quarterbacks. Granted, this has only been made possible by the great play of the offensive line but Bradford has led scoring drive after scoring drive with very few weapons. The hardest part of these forecasts is picking the pass game of Tampa Bay’s opponent. Tampa Bay has an above average secondary with superb Cover 2 skills, coached by one of the best Cover 2 guys in Raheem Morris. That said, they only have 4 sacks this whole season, 32nd in the NFL. When you break it down, Ruud will often be guarding TE Daniel Fells, you’ll see Talib squared up on Danario Alexander, Barber on Danny Amendola, and Biggers on Gibson or Gilyard. I like all of those match-ups but I’m sure some of the three teams St. Louis beat feel similarly. Edge: Tampa Bay.

Prediction: Steve Spagnuolo is clearly the defensive wizard many thought he was while he was in Philadelphia and New York. While New York is finally regaining some of the pass rush that seemed to leave with him two seasons ago, he has gotten so much out of a St. Louis defense many don’t know about and he even ended my survivor season, giving me a second strike when I picked against them. Well, I’ll be doing it again this week because as much as people have pointed out in the Bucs’ losses that they have been simply outmatched, I think a little of it has to do with growing pains. When the defense get picked apart, they bounce back. When the offense doesn’t connect, they bounce back. Bucs 28, Rams 27.

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