Buccaneers vs Rams NFL Week 9 Odds & Picks
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.
- The Buccaneers are favored in a rematch of last year's playoffs against the Rams.
- Both teams are struggling this season, with just three wins apiece.
- Anthony Dabbundo previews the game and makes his betting pick below.
Buccaneers vs Rams Odds
The Rams and Buccaneers played one of the most thrilling games of the 2021 playoffs. Down 24 points as late as the third quarter, Tampa Bay pulled off a miraculous comeback to tie the game in the fourth, only to lose by a field goal.
The total for that game was 48 points; this one is nowhere close at 42.5 as both offenses have struggled mightily to move the ball and protect their aging quarterbacks.
Tampa Bay and Los Angeles have been two of the biggest disappointments in the NFC this year. Both teams are under .500 and in danger of not winning their divisions despite being preseason favorites. But because the top of the NFC is down across the board, there's still time for both to turn it around.
The market thinks Tampa Bay will get back on track as a three-point home favorite, but can either offense sort out its issues against solid defenses?
Buccaneers vs. Rams Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Buccaneers and Rams match up statistically:
Buccaneers vs. Rams DVOA Breakdown
Rams Offense vs. Bucs Defense
Sean McVay offenses are built around run-first schemes. Despite this, the Rams' top issue has been their inability to effectively run the football on early downs. They are 32nd in rushing success rate and are five points lower than every other offense in the NFL. They're also 30th in run block win rate, so there's not much reason to be optimistic that it's going to improve.
Tampa Bay's run defense has slipped a bit this season, but the Buccaneers still have an above average defensive line by line yards. If the Rams aren't able to run the ball on early downs, they'll be stuck with straight dropbacks on late downs.
Rams +3 | Bucs -3
Turnovers have been a problem for Matthew Stafford, but even if you exclude all plays with turnovers, the Rams offense is 21st in EPA per drop back. A major reason for their passing woes is due to struggles on the offensive line.
The Rams are bottom five in pressure rate allowed and bottom 10 in pass block win rate. Another reason to be concerned about Stafford is that he hasn't been particularly good from clean pockets this year either.
Stafford averages just 7.2 yards per attempt from a clean pocket and has five big-time throws to five turnover-worthy plays. When he's under pressure, his numbers drop to 5.6 yards per attempt and his turnover-worthy play rate doubles from 2.5% to 5.4%.
The Buccaneers lost Shaq Barrett to injury, but they're still right around league average in pressure rate. Tampa Bay does have questionable designations on both of its corners — Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting — which should be monitored as they try to match up with Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.
Given that both practiced throughout the week though, I am expecting both to play and the Buccaneers secondary should be close to full strength.
Bucs Offense vs. Rams Defense
Even when Tom Brady was playing at his best, the Rams defense has given Tampa Bay's offense issues. You can go back to the past three meetings and see that the Rams really disrupted Brady.
In the first meeting in 2020, the Rams held Brady to 216 passing yards in a road Monday night victory. In '21, Los Angeles jumped out to an early 17-point win and cruised to victory. In the aforementioned postseason meeting, the Rams had constant pressure on Brady and shut him down entirely until the fourth quarter.
The Rams have been able to get consistent interior pressure on Brady, and that's been an even bigger issue for the Bucs' offensive line this season. And much like the Rams, the Buccaneers haven't had a consistent running game.
Los Angeles has struggled with explosive passing plays, but it does grade out well both on early downs and from a success rate perspective. The Rams' pass defense is in the top 10 in early down EPA and in passing success rate allowed.
It would be reasonable to expect both of these disappointing offenses to regress toward their preseason priors. But I don't think the market has fully caught up to just how bad the offensive lines are and how much both quarterbacks have declined.
Both offenses are averaging just 17 points per game and both offensive lines are dealing with injuries.
It doesn't hurt that both head coaches tend to be conservative and prioritize field goals and field positions over fourth-down conversions and touchdowns.
This total should be closer to 41 because of that, and I'd bet the under at 42.5 or better.