Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. Rams

Six matchups to watch when the Buccaneers take on the Rams.

1. DT Gerald McCoy vs. DT Aaron Donald
It's not a direct matchup, but these two each have the potential to take over a game. McCoy was on Pro Football Focus's Week One All-NFL team. Donald made the list in Week Two. Both DTs have two tackles for loss this season. The key to this game for both offensive lines is to stop McCoy or Donald from disrupting plays in the backfield.

2. WR Mike Evans vs. CB Trumaine Johnson
Evans' 169 yards are the 16th most in the NFL and he's one of nine receivers with at least one touchdown in each of the first two games of the season. Evans had a big game against the Rams last year, hauling in nine passes for 157 yards. Johnson led his team with seven interceptions last year, one of them coming against the Bucs.

Pictures of the Rams' starting offense and defense, according to the team's depth chart.

3. RB Charles Sims vs. LB Alec Ogletree
With Doug Martin out for this matchup, Sims should see his role increased today. Last season, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry and his 561 receiving yards were second-most on the team. Alec Ogletree leads the Rams in tackles (21) and has one forced fumble, which was the crucial game-ending takeaway in their Week Two victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

4. LB Kwon Alexander vs. RB Todd Gurley
Alexander shares the NFL lead in tackles (24) and has the outright lead in solo tackles (21). He's played a key role in the Bucs' run defense, which has allowed just 76.5 rushing yards per game. Gurley, 2015's Rookie of the Year had 48 rushing yards and a score against the Bucs last year. He has 98 yards rushing so far this year.

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  1. CB Vernon Hargreaves vs. WR Tavon Austin**
    Austin is one of the most explosive receivers in the league from the slot position. Often used as the nickel corner, Hargreaves could be relied upon heavily to keep Austin from breaking off a big gain. In the Rams vs. Bucs matchup last year, Austin had 41 receiving yards, 32 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

6. DE Noah Spence vs. QB Case Keenum
With Jacquies Smith on IR, Spence will need to step up as one of the Bucs' primary pass rushers in the home opener. He'll chase Keenum, who has been sacked five times this season. The Rams have the fewest passing yards in the NFL so far and a consistent edge rush from Spence could have a huge effect on keeping that number down.

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