A rematch of the NFC Divisional playoffs from last season is a must win for the Bucs
The Tampa Bay Bucs have their backs against the wall and are facing a team in the Los Angeles Rams that they have not had a lot of success against throughout the history of the franchise. You don’t need to look much further than last season when the Bucs went 0-2 – including a heartbreaking loss in the divisional round of the playoffs – against these same Rams.
All time, the Bucs are 9-19 against the Rams and have lost eight of their last nine matchups. The last Bucs win was in 2019 when the Bucs won a 55-40 shootout. Prior to that, it was 2010 and Cadillac Williams’ heroics as time ran out that gave the Bucs an 18-17 victory over the then St. Louis Rams.
Tom Brady, over the course of his career, is just 3-3 against the Rams while posting eleven touchdowns to just four interceptions over those six games. Mike Evans has had some individual success against the Rams, posting 582 receiving yards and three touchdowns in six games against them but only winning against them once.
Leading up to the season, Devin White spoke to the media and expressed his frustration in not being able to beat the Rams. It was something that he wanted to focus on and that the team needed to figure out how to get over that hump. White has struggled quite a bit since being named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in September and he’ll have a lot of eyes on him leading up to this one.
The Rams have been dealing with their own struggles this season, dealing with a Super Bowl hangover and the losses of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams are just 3-4 on the season and Matthew Stafford has been pedestrian, posting just 1,763 passing yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year.
The Rams currently rank 30th in total offense, 28th in scoring offense, and 31st in rushing offense. Averaging just 16.9 points per game, the Rams have been beatable throughout the season – much like the Bucs.
Defensively, they’re much better, ranking 5th in total defense but 18th in scoring defense, allowing 22.4 points per game. While the Bucs and Rams rank in the bottom two in rushing offense, both teams are allowing over 100 rush yards per game so something will have to give in the run game. Either these teams will get their rushing game on track or they will improve their rushing defensive averages.
While the Rams are dealing with an injury concern of their own with wide receiver Cooper Kupp getting hurt late in the loss against the 49ers, the Bucs will be looking to get some key contributors back. Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Akiem Hicks all looking to be on track to return this week.
With the struggles of the offensive line this season, Aaron Donald will pose a bigger problem than he normally does. He could be the biggest factor in restricting the Bucs’ offense both in the run game and by getting that interior pressure on Tom Brady that we’ve seen throw the passing game off.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bucs are 2.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 42.5. The Bucs haven’t covered the spread in six straight games while the Rams have won six in a row against the Bucs when listed as underdogs.
The Bucs and Rams kickoff at 4:25 p.m. ET in Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS with the top crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo doing the play-by-play.