TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Buccaneers’ safety Jordan Whitehead has been a consistent contributor on their defense all season placing fourth on the team in tackles– even after missing three games because of injuries.

One of his break-out games came the day after Christmas on the road against the Panthers where he led the team with 7 tackles and an interception.

“Maybe it was because it was Christmas time,” Whitehead said. “My spirits was up. But really it was we needed that win to clinch the playoffs and I think I was just a little more focused. From there, the focus has just been more and more every week.”

But he was also mic’d up that game, which his teammate Mike Edwards said was the reason he played so well.

“So that might be part of it I guess,” Whitehead joked. “I was excited. I wasn’t feeling too well at the start of that game and then I remembered I was mic’d up and I knew I had to give some energy so it kind of got me through.”

He and the Bucs’ defense have been bringing the energy all season, even with the numerous injuries they’ve had to deal with, starting way back in week one.

“Coach (Todd) Bowles does a great job putting guys in every week– whoever’s in the game,” Whitehead said. “He’ll find their strength and plug you in. He has a lot of different calls that he uses and it goes a long way. It keeps the offense on their toes. So I give credit to Coach Bowles and all guys on the defense. They’re asked to do different things every week and everybody does a good job of adjusting and just doing what they’re asked.”

This Sunday they’ll be asked to try and contain a stacked Rams offense, which includes top receivers Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham, Jr. and running backs Sony Michel and Cam Akers to name a few.

“They’re all great players,” Whitehead said. “They all do their individual thing well. Cooper Kupp (is) one of the best slot receivers in the game so that’s one of the guys that we’re really going to have to focus-in on. (Matt) Stafford’s back there. He’s throwing a good ball, throwing the deep ball really well and finding Odell the last couple weeks. So they’ve got some weapons over there. Cam Akers just got back, running hard so all 11 guys have got to be tuned-in.”

Sunday’s game between the Rams and Bucs will be the team’s second meeting this season after squaring off in late September. Having already gotten a taste of the Rams offense led by Matthew Stafford the Buccaneers safety is confident in where they stand in the early-going preparation.

“As a defense understanding the concepts and what they’re trying to do.. we’re going to watch some film… and be ready to go,” Whitehead said.

Some of that preparation comes from an NFC West veteran in Richard Sherman, the 33-year-old who is out for the year with an Achilles injury has made a key difference on the sidelines for players like Whitehead.

“We were just watching film and thorough out the week, he runs it and when we are on the field he’s on our butt and just making sure everybody is tuned in,” Whitehead said.

The Rams and Buccaneers have met twice before in the playoffs, with both games being won by the Rams. They were low-scoring games – 11-6 in 1999 and 9-0 in 1979 – and both were on the Rams’ path to the Super Bowl that season.