Rams vs. Bucs: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 NFC Divisional Game

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 22, 2022

Rams vs. Bucs: Updated Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 NFC Divisional Game

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to continue their quest for a second straight Super Bowl title, they'll need to get past one of the hottest teams in the NFC on Sunday. However, the Bucs have plenty of momentum themselves as they head into the divisional round.

    Having won eight of its past nine games, Tampa Bay will be hosting the Los Angeles Rams, who have won six of their past seven contests. The Bucs opened the playoffs with a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals to reach this point.

    This will be only the third time that the Buccaneers and Rams have met in the postseason. The Rams defeated the Bucs in the NFC Championship Game in both the 1979 and 1999 seasons.

    Here are the current odds for the matchup, followed by some stat predictions for the game.

Current Game Odds

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Spread: Tampa Bay -2.5

    Over/Under: 48 total points

    Moneyline: Tampa Bay -145 (bet $145 to win $100); Los Angeles +125 (bet $100 to win $125)

    Via NFL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook

Stafford Will Build off Performance from 1st Playoff Win

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    It took Matthew Stafford a long time to record his first playoff win. But he finally achieved that feat last week when he led the Rams to victory over the Cardinals. Before that, he had an 0-3 career postseason record over his first 12 NFL seasons, all of which came with the Detroit Lions.

    Stafford will try to make sure he doesn't have to wait as long for his second playoff win, as he'll look to lead Los Angeles to a road victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. And if the Rams are going to knock off the defending Super Bowl champions, they'll likely need a big game from their quarterback.

    In the wild-card round, Stafford was efficient, completing 13 of his 17 pass attempts with 202 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't a huge performance, but Los Angeles was in control in the second half and didn't need to air it out against Arizona.

    That's unlikely to be the case this week, as the Buccaneers will be a much more challenging opponent. In Week 3, Stafford passed for 343 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Tampa Bay. He may not put up numbers that big, but expect another strong showing in a solid matchup for Los Angeles' passing attack.

    Prediction: 332 passing yards and three touchdowns

Brady Will Give Bucs an Opportunity to Win

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Tom Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, so he knows what it takes to guide a team through the postseason. And because of that, it's rare to see him have a bad performance on the biggest stages.

    Sunday's game between the Buccaneers and Rams will likely be a competitive matchup that could go either way. It should also be a closer contest than the last time the two teams played (when Los Angeles won 34-24 in Week 3), and it could come down to the wire.

    In the Bucs' first game this postseason, Brady threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Philadelphia. He should put up even better numbers against Los Angeles, considering Tampa Bay will likely be passing the ball much deeper into the game.

    Expect a solid showing for Brady, as he'll again put the Buccaneers in a position to have a chance to win the game late. Even though his receiving corps is still shorthanded, Brady will find a way to put up points.

    Prediction: 305 yards and two touchdowns

Ramsey Will Come Through with a Big Defensive Play

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    The Rams' defense has a lot of standout contributors who are capable of making big plays. Los Angeles recorded a pair of interceptions in its victory over Arizona, and it had two sacks, with Aaron Donald and Von Miller both putting the pressure on the Cardinals' offense.

    While there are numerous players who could come through the for the Rams' defense at any time, expect it to be cornerback Jalen Ramsey who does so this week. He's likely going to have a tough assignment, as he'll probably be covering Mike Evans, but Ramsey is among the best in the league at his position.

    Evans is now the clear top target for Brady on Tampa Bay's offense, so perhaps Los Angeles will focus on trying to prevent him from getting the ball. That means the Rams may opt to put him in double coverage much of the time in an attempt to shut him down.

    Because of that, Ramsey will record his second career postseason interception and his first since joining the Rams in 2019. And it may even come at a moment when Los Angeles needs it most, as Ramsey is capable of delivering at opportune times.

    Prediction: Six tackles and an interception

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