Rams vs. Bucs Odds, Picks, Predictions: The Case For Betting Tom Brady To Cover Sunday’s NFL Playoff Spread
Getty Images. Pictured: Bucs QB Tom Brady and Rams DT Aaron Donald (left to right)
- The last time Tom Brady faced the Rams in the NFL playoffs, the GOAT added another ring while Sean McVay's team went home empty-handed.
- Find out why, based on the latest Rams vs. Bucs odds, our analyst is betting on Brady to send the Rams packing once again.
- Find his picks and predictions for Sunday's Divisional Round showdown below, complete with a spread bet.
Rams vs. Bucs Odds
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
|Updated odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Rams were dominant in their first playoff game as they crushed the Cardinals 34-11. The offense moved the ball at will and the defense made life miserable for Kyler Murray. Now, we see if they can replicate that success against Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champs.
The Buccaneers also manhandled their opponent on Super Wild Card Weekend with a 31-15 victory over the Eagles. Of course, the score doesn’t do Tampa’s performance justice as it opened the fourth quarter ahead 31-0. This will be the Bucs’ first playoff test to see if they can overcome their growing list of injuries.
Last year, Tampa Bay brought in Brady to be the difference-maker in games like this, and this summer Los Angeles traded for Matthew Stafford for the same reason. Let’s see who will have the edge.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Rams vs. Bucs Injury Report
We’re tracking practice participation and statuses of every player on the Rams’ and Bucs’ injury reports here.
Rams vs. Bucs Matchup
|Rams Offense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Defense|
|Rams Defense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Rams Clicking on Offense, Defense
L.A.’s victory over Arizona gave Stafford his first-ever playoff victory, but the quarterback didn’t have to do all that much thanks to the defense’s performance. Stafford ended the game with 202 passing yards and two touchdowns on 17 pass attempts. It was a strong start in terms of efficiency, but he will likely be called upon much more if the Rams are to make a Super Bowl run.
Finding success for Stafford should be much easier thanks to the additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Cam Akers. Against the Cardinals, OBJ was the offensive catalyst in each of their touchdown drives. He caught a goal-line fade on one possession, caught a 31-yard pass on the next, and threw a 40-yard pass setting up a touchdown. With OBJ playing at that level, teams will regret doubling All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp.
As for Akers, there are no words to describe his comeback from an Achilles injury five months ago. He looked fast and explosive while on the field against Arizona and should get Sean McVay another important piece on offense. Akers even burned the defense and was running wide open for a would-be 44-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, this play ended in one of Stafford’s few misses on the day.
Defensively, the Rams have an excellent matchup. The Bucs are depleted at receiver and L.A. has Jalen Ramsey to slow down Mike Evans. Up front, Tampa Bay’s line is also beaten up and will face the Rams’ menacing front. The combination of Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd is too much for most full-strength offenses, let alone backups. The only worry here is that Brady plans for this and throws the ball too quickly for pressure to get him. Otherwise, this defense should feast.
Bucs Battling Injuries, But Brady is Brady
Last week, the Buccaneers showed why the top seed in the playoffs is so valuable. Even in a highly one-sided game, injuries came to haunt Tampa as starting offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs suffered injuries. Both missed practice this week and will likely not be 100% if on the field at all. (Editor’s Note:ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Sunday afternoon that Wirfs will be out against the Rams.) Against a front as talented as the Rams, that is extra dangerous. Add in the absence of Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown and this offense has problems up front and on the outside.
The one good piece of injury news for Tampa Bay is the return of Leonard Fournette, who has been out since Week 16, and his return comes right as reinforcements are needed. Last year, he earned the nickname “Playoff Lenny” with 4.7 yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns. Tampa Bay will need him to show up once again to alleviate some of the pressure on the passing game.
The number one reason you overlook all the injuries though is not “Playoff Lenny”– it is playoff Brady. We have seen Brady make heroes out of third- or fourth-string players and he will likely need to do so once more. The good news is Brady loves to attack the middle of the field and that is where the Rams are weakest. The only question is will Tyler Johnson, Cameron Brate, Gio Bernard or someone else step up so this passing game can function?
Defensively, the Buccaneers have one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. Per PFF, they have the second-best coverage grade in the NFL. Their run defense has not been as good as anticipated coming into the year, though, as they rank 15th in yards per rush allowed. If they can contain the run they should be able to keep things close enough for Brady to do the rest.
Rams vs. Bucs Predictions
These teams met way back in Week 3 and the Rams controlled that game from the start and won 34-24. Since then, injuries have set the Bucs back while the Rams have most of their key contributors. This would typically give L.A. the edge, but it underestimates the power of Tom Brady in the playoffs.
Brady is best at finding a weakness and exploiting it until the defense is forced to adjust. The Rams’ back seven — outside of Jalen Ramsey — can be exploited as long as Brady can stay upright. Fortunately, he is the best at getting the ball out — just ask Joey Bosa.
As long as the Bucs defense can do enough to keep this close, taking Brady over Stafford to make the key play should be a safe bet.
Trust Brady to once again make it to the NFC Championship Game.
Pick: Bucs -2.5 | Bet to: -3
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