We kick off the incredible slate of divisional matchups on Sunday with a fantastic matchup out of the NFC. The Los Angeles Rams are going on the road to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Los Angeles are coming off of a dominant win in the wild card against the Arizona Cardinals. While Tampa Bay didn’t play their best and managed to still win over the Philadelphia Eagles in their wild card matchup. Tampa Bay is a little banged up and might be missing some key pieces of their offensive line in this matchup. Could the Rams take advantage? With that being said here is my preview for this NFC Divisional matchup.
The Rams are one of the only teams in the National Football League that not only went all in during the off season, but they went all in during the season as well. During the season they acquired Von Miller via trade and Odell Beckham Jr via waivers. Two big time game changers for this team looking to go back to the Super Bowl. They have the most to lose this weekend, but will they capitalize on the injuries on the Buccaneers offense.
Los Angeles’ offense looks a whole lot better this season with Matthew Stafford slinging the ball around. However, with Cam Akers back and having Sony Michel a guy who has been to a Super Bowl before. This Rams offense is getting more and more legitimate by the day. I like the Rams offense in this matchup and don’t forget they had success against Tampa Bay earlier on this season as well.
Defensively the Rams need to not give Brady any time to throw the football. With the potential of the Buccaneers not to have all-pro Tristan Wirfs protecting Brady is a big key for the Rams defense. If the Rams front seven applies pressure, it will be a long night for Brady and company. Look for the Rams to take advantage of their banged up offensive line and cause Brady a lot of havoc in this one.
Bad news for the Buccaneers is that you are banged up on the offensive line. Good news is that you have one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL in the playoffs. Tom Brady has done a lot more with a lot worse in his career. We have seen him win Super Bowls before with banged up offensive lines and much worse. I think Tampa Bay has a real shot in this game, but they need a lot of things to go there way.
First off, they will need the offense to get the running game going more often. Brady needs a consistent running game to be as dangerous as he can be with this offense. With no running game, the Rams front seven will keep applying pressure. When they keep applying pressure, the Buccaneers offense will do one of two things. They will either adjust or they will struggle to get anything going. Look for Brady to do what he needs to do to get the job done.
Defensively, the Buccaneers need to keep up the same intensity that they had last week. If the Buccaneers front seven is as good as they were a week ago, it could be struggle city for this Rams offense. We saw what happened to Jalen Hurts last week when they pressured him, how will Stafford respond? This Tampa Bay defense is talented and can cause a ton of problems for the Rams.
The Buccaneers are 2.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 48. My lean is the over as I see both teams putting up points in this matchup. My official play is Rams ML. This is easy to me, because the Buccaneers are banged up on the offensive line. Rams looked real good last week and I think they have a real shot at beating the Buccaneers outright here in this divisional matchup. Ride the Rams money line on this divisional round Sunday.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
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