Rick Stroud, Bucs writer
Bucs were humbled in Arizona and got a reminder that preparation during the week is key. Losing Doug Martin is a big deal, but the combination of Charles Sims and Jacqizz Rodgers should provide enough ground cover to allow Jameis Winston to use play-action. Winston will face a heavy rush but should be able to make some plays downfield. Plus, the Rams have not scored a touchdown this season.
Tom Jones, Columnist
Bucs will shake off last week's debacle in Arizona, but they'll have to do it without running back Doug Martin. The loss of Martin might be tough to overcome in upcoming games against Denver and Carolina, but Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense should do enough to put away the Rams. Look, too, for Tampa Bay's best defensive effort of the season in a game against the team that has serious offensive issues.
Greg Auman, Bucs/NFL writer
So much room for improvement from last week in Arizona, and even shorthanded, the Bucs should be able to do what they couldn't last year: stifle Todd Gurley and force Case Keenum to make mistakes. Jameis Winston will be sharper in the quick passing game, and the Bucs, without Doug Martin, will rush for 100 yards as a team for the first time this season.
Ernest Hooper, Columnist
The Bucs will find themselves in a defensive battle and not just because the Rams play well on that side of the ball. My guess is Coach Dirk Koetter will keep the cards closer to the vest to minimize Jameis Winston's turnovers, knowing that if they play smart on offense, they can outpoint the Rams. Don't be surprised if Roberto Aguayo is called upon to make a crucial kick before the home crowd.
Martin Fennelly, Columnist
Lose this game and the Bucs walk down the hall to the Rams locker room and tell them, "You stay _ we'll move to Los Angeles." The Bucs need to get a move on this week, and the offensively challenged Rams are the perfect set-up. Los Angeles is flying across the country and can't won't match that intensity from it victory over Seattle in its L.A. return opener. Plus Rams QB Case Keenum is no great shakes. Then again, No Great Shakes went 14-17 for 258 yards, two TDs and a 158 rating when the Rams beat the Bucs last season. No matter. If the Good Jameis shows up, or even the decent Jameis, and the Bucs defense can contain Rams running back Todd Gurley, that should be enough.
Thomas Bassinger, Staff Writer
The Bucs looked awful against the Cardinals, but the 40-7 score doesn't carry over. How did Tampa Bay follow up the 56-14 loss in Atlanta in 2014 and the 42-14 loss to Tennessee last season? It won in Pittsburgh and in New Orleans. This one should be close enough for Roberto Aguayo, who missed a 45-yard field-goal try Sunday, to make a difference.