The all-red uniforms of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The all-yellow uniforms of the St. Louis Rams.
The all-green turf of the Edward Jones Dome.
For goodness sakes, this isn’t a football game. It’s a traffic light.
Evidently, the NFL believed that bright colors would distract fans from disappointing football. The Bucs are 6-7 on the season and the Rams are 5-8. And instead of representing excellence as they once did — the Rams on offense, the Bucs on defense — they are mired in seasons where they haven’t measured up. The Rams are 31st in the NFL in offense. The Bucs are 20th in pass defense.
Still, there is reason to watch. Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston leads the Bucs, and rookie running back Todd Gurley leads the Rams. It will be interesting to see if one can outplay the other. No team in the NFL has given up fewer sacks than the Rams, which means that young Case Keenum might have time to throw.
Yet, the Bucs enter the game with a sliver of hope for the playoffs. First, however, they have to streamline their plan of attack. Doug Martin averaged 7.4 yards per run last week, but carried the ball only 11 times. Mike Evans had only four targets. And Gerald McCoy got into a spat with defensive line coach Joe Cullen on the sideline.
The Bucs will play their 13th game of the season against a team with a losing record.
The Rams have the league’s worst quarterback rating, but at their best, they have a physical defensive front led by Aaron Donald.
Game time is 8:30 p.m.