Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What's Next: Bucs Head Back to Home…and Prime Time

The Bucs play host to an NFC playoff contender before a Monday Night Football audience in Week 11, as they seek their eighth win against a 6-3 Rams tie that is tied for the lead in the NFC West

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Carolina Panthers, 46-23, in Week 10 at Bank of America Stadium in a game that kicked off at 1:00 p.m. That ended a run of five straight Buccaneer contests played in the late afternoon or the evening, including three prime-time affairs, but the team's work in front of national audiences isn't done yet.

On November 23, the Los Angeles Rams will visit Raymond James Stadium for a Monday Night Football showcase on ESPN, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. The Buccaneers also played on Monday night on the road against the New York Giants in Week Eight, squeaking by with a 25-23 victory. That, coupled with a 38-3 loss to the Saints on Sunday Night Football in Week Nine and the Bucs' Thursday night loss in Chicago in Week Five has the team eager to prove it can play just as well under the lights.

Tampa Bay improved to 7-3 with its win over the Panthers and remains a half-game out of first in the NFC South, behind the 7-2 New Orleans Saints. The Green Bay Packers are also at 7-2 and atop the NFC North.

The Buccaneers have an extra day to prepare for the Rams and will likely hold a bonus session of some sort on Wednesday, whether it be a walk-through or a more robust practice. The team will be looking to build on the momentum from Sunday's win, in which the offense rolled up 544 yards of offense and scored on nine straight drives while the defense only allowed 187 yards and one third-down conversion in nine attempts.

Tampa Bay's offense will definitely look to repeat the sort of balance it had in Sunday's win between the rushing and passing games, something that has frequently been lacking this year. Behind Ronald Jones' career day of 192 yards, including a team-record 98-yard touchdown run, the Bucs picked up 210 yards on the ground and 334 through the air. The Tom Brady-led passing attack was the best example yet of what the team can do to opposing defenses with a collection of talent that includes Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. Those four combined for 289 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.

Tampa Bay's offense might also get starting left guard Ali Marpet back from a two-game absence due to a concussion, though the line's play with A.Q. Shipley at center and Ryan Jensen at left guard was quite good against Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Rams head to prime time coming off an enormous win over Seattle in Week 10 that put both teams at 6-3. The NFC West is incredibly competitive, making every game critical, as the Arizona Cardinals are also 6-3 following a stunning last-second win over Buffalo. The Los Angeles Rams somehow slowed down MVP candidate Russell Wilson, picking him off twice, not allowing a touchdown pass and recovering a Wilson fumble in a 23-16 decision.

Monday night's game is a rematch of one of the most remarkable games in franchise history from last season. In Week Four of the 2019 campaign, the Buccaneers went to Los Angeles and exploded for a franchise single-game record 55 points, the final ones scored on a 37-yard fumble return touchdown by former Ram Ndamukong Suh. The Bucs needed all of that scoring to hold off the Rams in a 55-40 decision, and they got big games from both Chris Godwin (172 yards and two touchdowns) and Mike Evans (89 yards and a touchdown). Godwin and Evans are both rounding into shape in 2020 as they come back from a variety of injuries, and they were part of a varied and impressive passing attack in Carolina in Week 10. The Buccaneers will be looking for another such performance from their offense as they try to get an eighth win and keep pace in a thrilling conference playoff race.

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