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Rams at Buccaneers: 4 bold predictions for NFL Playoff game

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 2022-01-19

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will continue their search for a repeat Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in the final of two NFC Divisional Playoff games this weekend .

A win here for Tom Brady and Co. would have the Bucs going up against either the San Francisco 49ers or Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Fresh off a blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals, Sean McVay’s Rams are riding high heading into Tampa fo this one.

Below, we give you four bold predictions for Rams at Buccaneers.

Related: 49ers at Packers bold predictions

Rams at buccaners, game information and line

Date Time (ET) TV
Sunday, January 23 3:00 PM NBC, Peacock, Universo
  • Rams at Buccaneers point spread: Buccaneers -3.0
  • Over/under: 48.5
  • Moneyline: Rams +130; Buccaneers -150

Matthew Stafford torches Buccaneers defense for 300 yards

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Despite boasting the fifth-best scoring defense during the regular season, opposing quarterbacks were able to put up numbers against the Buccaneers. That included a 65% completion mark with 4,347 yards. There’s reason to believe that Matthew Stafford will have a nice amount of success through the air in this one.

While most will look to Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. as the two difference-makers, Tyler Higbee should be a focal point of those watching. Tampa Bay yielded 92 receptions and a 73% catch rate to tight ends during the regular season. This is a plus-level matchup for Stafford and the Rams.

Related: Sportsnaut’s bold predictions for the NFL Divisional Playoffs

Rob Gronkowski puts up playoff-career high in yards

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles’ issues at safety are by now well known. The team has to sign Eric Weddle out of retirement ahead of the NFC Wild Card Playoffs. Making his first appearance since 2019, Weddle played 34% of the Rams’ defensive snaps. That might have worked out well against a struggling Kyler Murray last week, but this is a whole new ball game against the defending champions.

Our bold prediction here is that future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski will surpass his playoff-career high in receiving yards (145), previously set back in 2014 against the Denver Broncos when he was a member of the Patriots. Gronk put up 252 receiving yards in the final two regular-season games before being held to 31 yards on six targets against the Eagles last week.

Related: Ranking NFL Playoff defenses

Jalen Ramsey puts up pick-six of Tom Brady

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of his past two games going up against Buccaneers No. 1 wide receiver Mike Evans, Ramsey has been downright dominant. That span includes him yielding just five catches for 54 yards . Overall, the Pro Bowl cornerback gave up a 71.1 passer rating and just 6.4 yards per target while picking off four passes during the regular season.

Don’t expect Brady to avoid throwing to Evans simply because of these numbers. With Chris Godwin out and Antonio Brown no longer a member of the team, Evans has been targeted a lot recently. He caught 9-of-10 passes in last week’s NFC Wild Card win over the Philadelphia Eagles. While Evans will have his success, our biggest bold prediction for this Rams at Buccaneers game is that Ramsey will pick off Brady and return it to the house for a touchdown.

Related: Find out where Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford rank among NFL Playoff QBs

Tom Brady still leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win

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Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford with north of 300 yards? Jalen Ramsey tallying a pick-six of Tom Terrific? Most believed we were trending in the direction of picking a Rams upset. It’s just unlikely to happen with Tom Brady on the other side. Let us phrase it this way. When was the last time you were successful betting against Brady?

The seven-time Super Bowl champion has picked it up even more since he joined the Buccaneers. That includes throwing 27 touchdowns against four interceptions at home this season. In his nine starts at Raymond James Stadium, playoffs included, Brady has led the Buccaneers to 33 points per game. Shockingly, this included a shutout loss to the New Orelans Saints back in Week 15.

Related: NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Rams at Buccaneers prediction: Buccaneers 38, Rams 34

Yeah, we’re definitely going with the over in this one. Tampa Bay’s offense is just too prolific for the Rams to play some sort of keep away from Tom Brady and Co. That type of game plan also isn’t in Rams head coach Sean McVay’s bag of tricks.

In the end, the Bucs are able to come away with a hard fought win and advance to take on either the Packers or 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

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