The Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to face off for the divisional round of the playoffs and the right to play for the NFC Championship. This is the second time the two teams will have played this season. In Week 3, both squads were 2-0 and the Rams beat the Buccaneers 34-24.
The Rams are 3-point underdogs against the Buccaneers, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 41 touchdowns in the regular season. The only quarterback to throw more touchodowns was Buccaneers Tom Brady with 43. Stafford was third in total yards with 4,886 and Brady was first with 5,316. Stafford’s passer rating was 102.9 compared to Brady’s 102.1. In the last meeting between these two teams, Stafford threw for 27 completions, 343 yards, and four touchdowns to Brady’s 41 completions, 432 yards, and one touchdown. While Brady has been part of the MVP conversation all season, and Stafford was one of the most obvious Pro Bowl snubs in the National Football League, there is no doubt that this divisional round matchup is featuring two of the best quarterbacks in the game.
The last time the Buccaneers offense lined up against the Rams defense, the Buccaneer’s leading rusher was Brady with 14 yards but from the running back position it was Ronald Jones who had a total of 11 rushing yards and zero touchdowns. Their next running back, Leonard Fournette, had eight yards rushing and zero touchdowns. The Rams defensive front has continued to play well and has been reinforced with the addition of Von Miller on the edge. In eight games with the Rams, Miller has 31 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and five sacks. He’s had at least one sack in the last five games and two sacks in Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens. Greg Gaines, the third year nose tackle out of the University of Washington, has been having a great season posting 55 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season and of course it’s all working while playing next to Aaron Donald. Donald was voted into his eight Pro Bowl and Seventh All-Pro team while posting 12.5 sacks in the regular season leading a defense that is ranked sixth in lowest rush yards allowed per game.
Cooper Kupp was voted to his first Pro Bowl of his career after achieving the triple crown for receivers leading in receptions (145), yards (1,947), and touchdowns (16). Against the Buccaneers in Week 3, Kupp had nine receptions, for 96 yards and two touchdowns. This time around he’ll be paired up with three time Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ has six touchdowns over the last eight games, caught the first touchdown against Arizona in the Wildcard round and even went one for one for 40 yards passing.
The Rams have also found a new level of balance to the offense with the sound play of running back Sony Michel in the second half of the season and the addition of second year Cam Akers who made a full return against the Cardinals. Both backs combined for 150 yards from scrimmage last week.
Final Score Prediction: The Rams will beat the Buccaneers 27-23 and will beat the spread.
What’s your prediction? Let us know in the comments.