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NFC Divisional Round Betting: Do the Rams Have Tampa Bay’s Number?

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFC Divisional Playoffs Pick

The Los Angeles Rams got to the Super Bowl in Sean McVay’s second season as head coach. And they did so with Jared Goff at quarterback. This season they made a bold move to deal Goff away in exchange for Matthew Stafford. McVay envisioned something a lot more dangerous about an offense with Stafford. And well, he got it.

The former Detroit Lion signal-caller made his share of mistakes. But that’s what happens when you take more chances. The bottom line is that L.A.’s opponents have to cover every part of the field. And they will be putting forth quite the challenge when they take on the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That takes place in the NFC Divisional round, kicking off at 3 PM ET on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Rams vs. Buccaneers Odds by BetAnySports

TeamSP/RLTOTALML
Rams+2½ ( EV )48 ( -110 )+125
Buccaneers-2½ ( -120 )48 ( -110 )-145
Bet Now on this Game

Rams looked indestructible vs. Cardinals

The Rams are coming off a dominant performance in the first wildcard round game played on a Monday. They faced the Arizona Cardinals, who were on a late-season slide. And right from the start, there didn’t appear to be anything Arizona was going to do successfully against them. The defense gave up a total of 198 yards in the 34-11 victory. And the Cards came up empty in nine tries on third down.

Stafford only had to throw the ball 17 times, with 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And he got the first playoff win of his career in the process. The Rams got some production out of the backfield, with Sony Michel and Cam Akers combining for 113 yards. And that was that.

Stafford has lots of ways to go

As far as the air game is concerned, Stafford’s presence makes the Rams more difficult to contend with. He threw for 4886 yards and a whopping 41 touchdowns. But he threw more than a few bones to the opposition. Stafford not only tossed 17 interceptions, but four of them were brought back the other way for a TD.

But make no mistake about it – this attack works. And we can start with the amazing Cooper Kupp, who has been a dominant force after a collegiate career that was spent at the FCS level. Kupp caught 145 passes this season for 1947 yards, and he dealt with a lot of double coverage.

Odell Beckham Jr. was picked up at mid-season and caught five touchdown passes, after an unproductive tenure in Cleveland. Because he has a history of making plays, he provides a way of taking pressure off Kupp, at the very least. Rounding out the main receiver corps are Van Jefferson, who averaged a nice 16 yards a reception, and tight end Tyler Higbee (61 catches, 560 yards).

The Rams averaged six yards per offensive play, which was fourth best in the league.

Defense might be the answer

With all of that offense, it is still the defense that might be called upon to carry the burden. Brandon Staley set a great standard as the defensive coordinator. And after he moved on to become head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Raheem Morris took over.

What did not change was that the Rams have the best defensive player in the world. Aaron Donald stuffs the run, and he manages to rush the quarterback with a certain fury from an inside position. Then the Rams picked up former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, who was no longer wanted in Denver. Between Miller and Leonard Floyd, they will get some pressure. And of course, that is important against Tom Brady, who has lost a couple of wide receivers, may have a thin backfield and has two offensive linemen whose status is questionable. It should be noted that Brady suffered four sacks last week against Philadelphia, which doesn’t have the likes of Donald or Miller.

Special notes

The Rams have been called for fewer penalty yards per game than any team in the NFL…… The aforementioned Raheem Morris is coaching against his former team. He was head coach of the Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011…… The Rams and Bucs have met up this year and last, with the Rams winning both. In those games, Tom Brady threw the ball 103 times, and Tampa Bay scored 24 points in each game.

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