(Sports Network) – The St. Louis Rams have lost five straight on the road and were embarrassed by 38 points the last time they played as the guest. Both of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ losses this year have come at home by a combined 50- point margin.
This could get interesting.
Having already put together a winning streak at home, the Rams will look to reestablish themselves on the road this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium against a Bucs squad trying to avoid a third loss in four games.
The Rams picked up a third straight home victory with a surprising 20-17 win over San Diego last weekend, also marking the club’s third triumph in its last four games. At 3-3, St. Louis is right behind NFC West co-leaders Arizona and Seattle, which are both 3-2 on the young season.
Getting on track on the road will be key if the Rams hope to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2004, as they haven’t won away from the Gateway City since Nov. 1 of last year at Detroit. Coincidentally, St. Louis’ most recent road game also took place in Motown on Oct. 10, but the end result was a 44-6 rout at the hands of the Lions. That marked St. Louis’ 14th setback in its last 15 road contests.
St. Louis rookie quarterback Sam Bradford may be new to the NFL, but he knows how important it is to win on the road.
“I think that’s one of the steps from being an average team to being a good team is being able to play well on the road,” said Bradford. “If we do want to become a good team, we’re going to have to learn to play well on the road.”
Duplicating last weekend’s home victory would be a great start. St. Louis notched seven sacks versus the Chargers, getting two each from James Hall, Chris Long and Larry Grant. It marked the first time the Rams had three different players notch at least two sacks in the same game since Sept. 20, 1998.
Offensively, Bradford posted a 38-yard touchdown pass and didn’t turn the ball over, while running back Steven Jackson ran for 109 yards and a touchdown. Jackson also gained some key first downs late in the game to help the Rams run out the clock.
Tampa Bay opened its 2010 home schedule with a victory over Cleveland — part of a season-opening two-game win streak — but has lost two of its last three since and both defeats have come at home. The Buccaneers have been outscored 69-19 in those two setbacks after dropping a 31-6 decision to the visiting New Orleans Saints this past weekend.
The loss dropped the Bucs to 3-2 on the season, putting them right behind New Orleans and Atlanta for first place in the NFC South. Both the Saints and Falcons are 4-2.
Tampa Bay’s other loss came to AFC North leader Pittsburgh, while the club has recorded victories over Carolina and Cincinnati in addition to its Week 1 triumph versus Cleveland.
Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris is hoping his team can learn from losses to contenders such as the Saints.
“These types of games are the ones that you go back and you learn from,” the coach said. “You play heavyweights, you go out there and compete and you find out where you are. Right now it humbles you, it gets you back where you are in the right state of mind. It gets you back and gets your guys back into the laboratory, and gets some of the focus a little bit more.”
Tampa Bay was limited to just 42 yards rushing by New Orleans and lost running back Kareem Huggins for the season due to a torn ACL.
While the Buccaneers haven’t been able to compete against the big boys this year, they have been able to handle teams closer to their skill level. That fact, as well as having home-field advantage, should give them the edge in this one. Though the Rams are coming off a big home victory, they haven’t been able to put things together on the road. A huge game from Jackson could tilt things in the Rams’ favor, but we like the home team to come out here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buccaneers 17, Rams 14