The Bucs will face a tough challenge when the Rams come to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Stopping All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp will be the top mission for the Bucs’ defense in the NFC Divisional playoffs. The fifth-year pro has been a real thorn in the defense’s side over their last three match-ups, posting ridiculous numbers. In fact, in his three contests against the Bucs, Kupp has amassed 29 receptions for 362 yards and three touchdowns.

With a league-leading 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns, the Bucs defense and head coach Bruce Arians has certainly taken notice of Cooper’s skill set and production.

“He’s one of the best,” Arians said. “I think he and Chris Godwin, to me, are the best all-around receivers in the league because they block, they do everything – inside, outside. They’re very comparable, and you know how I think about Chris. Cooper, he’s a challenge. You can’t double team him all day, that’s for sure – they have too many other weapons. You just have to own up your guy and fight him. He’s a hard tackle just like Chris is.”

Unfortunately Godwin will not be available for this match-up, suffering an ACL tear in Week 15 against the Saints. In his own right, Godwin has been just as much a problem for the Rams defense. The fifth-year wideout has 25 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns versus Los Angeles, in addition to a rushing score. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans agrees with Arians’ assessment.

“That’s actually a really good comparison,” Evans said. “They’re similar body types, as well. I didn’t know Kupp was that big – he’s got some good size to him. He can run all the routes, very crafty. He’s faster than he looks, great body quickness, great hands, contested catch. He’s a complete receiver. That’s the reason why he got the triple crown this year.”

The Bucs will need a strong gameplan to account for the Kupp. Tampa Bay could look to what the Arizona Cardinals did in the Wild Card game, bracketing the talented wide receiver and holding him to five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs will certainly need to limit Kupp if they are going to have a chance to advance to the NFC Championship.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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Dude
Dude
4 months ago

Part of limiting Kupp will be keeping pressure on Stafford and not giving him time to find the open receiver. The Bucs can do this. Last year, they shut down Devonte Adams, twice, as well as shutting down Tyreek in the Superbowl. Guys just need to step up and not shoot themselves in the foot with dumb penalties. We’ve seen this defense rise to the challenge when needed. I believe they can do it again. Go Bucs!

fredster
fredster
4 months ago

I agree pressure on Stafford is only thing that will really win this game. It’s reason Saints are only team that seem to have Bucs number. Brady is always under pressure against the Saints. Stafford is known to make mistakes. They also need to be disciplined and shut run down as well. Cards had it ran down their throat.

Selmon-63
Selmon-63
Reply to  fredster
4 months ago

My thoughts exactly, couldn’t agree more.

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  fredster
4 months ago

Hey Fred! Keep hope alive! The only thing? There r several things that can help Bucs win. Turnovers! If the Bucs D can get 2-3 turnovers on Stafford and the Bucs D-Line pressure him, he will take chances with the ball. We needs 7s and not 3s! If everyone plays their gaps and White and David r flying around sideline to sideline, then it will be a good day for the home team! We got this Fred! Keep hope alive friend!

bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

Kupp is having an amazing season! Jam him every play off the line of scrimmage. Lay hands on him, legally! The DBs will have their hands full for sure. But, we have experience and have been there before. Need healthy O-Line and we need Shaq and JPP to have solid games. When watching the game film I saw JPP jump up to block a pass several times last week. He was all so close to batting down a couple of those balls. Perhaps, this week he actually gets to a couple. Maybe a tip to himself for an INT? That… Read more »

BigSombrero
BigSombrero
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

Kupp is quick enough to avoid getting jammed and fast enough to make you pay if you try to run with him in single coverage. The only thing that has worked against him this season is bracketing him with a double.
That said, I think this game will be more defensive battle than shoot out. Take the points every time. No fourth down hero ball.

SaskBucs
SaskBucs
4 months ago

Kupp and Akers are the 2 main concerns forsure. Really didn’t need him recovering that fast from that Achilles. I know the Bucs shut down RBs pretty well but Akers is a Kamara like RB who someone needs to account for each play. Hopefully we just continue to see Bowles fierce playoff D cause of the regular season D shows up and we don’t have Wirfs on the other side of the ball… I’m worried. Go Bucs!

twspin
twspin
4 months ago

Its what I’ve been sayin all week long. Everybody is talkin about what our Offense needs to do. But..If our Defense does not show up and out? We will lose this game.Its the biggest key to this game. We gotta get mega pressure on Stafford. Force him into some bad throws. Cooper Cup got it like that. He’s a Bad man! Perhaps the best at the position this year. If they go up by 10 or so, its gonna be hard . Its like the great Lawrence Taylor use to say, Play like a bunch of Mad Dogs. Thats what… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  twspin
4 months ago

Amen tw!

chefboho
chefboho
4 months ago

I know it’s not Bowels style and I’m confident in him but it will be interesting to see ow much he blitzes this game. Stafford was number 1 in the league against the blitz this year but very pedestrian against four man fronts. Just hope that if they do rush heavy that they can get home because leaving that back end open with all the offense they have won’t bode well. Gonna be one hell of a chess match.