Rams vs. Bucs Updated Odds, NFL Playoffs Schedule, Predictions For Divisional Round: Tampa Bay Opens As Favorite

Rams vs. Bucs Updated Odds, NFL Playoffs Schedule, Predictions For Divisional Round: Tampa Bay Opens As Favorite article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Rams QB Matthew Stafford, Bucs QB Tom Brady

  • The Buccaneers are favored on Sunday against the Rams.
  • Tampa Bay took down the Eagles last weekend, while Los Angeles beat the Cardinals on Monday night.
  • Check out the latest odds as of Tuesday evening and a breakdown of the game below.

Rams vs. Bucs Odds

Bucs -3
Odds via FanDuel. We'll add the over/under as soon as it's available.

The 4-seeded Rams are set to take on the 2-seeded Bucs in the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. Find our expert's projected odds and a recap of each team's seasons below.

Rams vs. Bucs Schedule

Sunday, Jan. 23
3 p.m. ET

Rams vs. Bucs Projections

Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals his initial projections for the spread and over/under based on his model.

These are subject to change before kickoff, though, so be sure to check out our NFL PRO Projections — i.e. real-time consensus projections based on models of six experts (including Sean).

  • Spread: Bucs -3.5
  • Total: 48,5

Note from Koerner: I'll be monitoring Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs' status since I have him rated as worth a half-point to the spread.

Rams vs. Bucs Predictions

Bet Bucs -2.5 (to -3)

Brandon Anderson: The Rams are all-in on this team. They mortgaged their future for Matt Stafford, then added Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr. and Eric Weddle at various points during the season. And they looked the part on Monday night, blowing out the hapless Cardinals for a win that was over by halftime.

They also looked the part back in Week 3, when they had their most impressive win of the season, a 34-24 victory over these Bucs in LA. Both teams started slow before the Rams scored on six straight possessions. Each team put up huge yardage in a heavy passing game, but LA was 10-of-15 on third downs. The Bucs were never really in it, the final score closer than it seemed thanks to a late garbage touchdown.

The Bucs lost that early one but are now 6-1 against playoff teams, and they’ve won eight of nine heading into Sunday's game. They finished the season with the best offense in the NFL by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The\y ranked No. 2 on first downs, No. 3 on second downs, and No. 1 on late downs. Tom Brady led the league in passing yards and touchdowns, and the Bucs were a top-five rushing attack too, too.

This Bucs offense is a juggernaut.

Tampa’s defense has also been very good.

The Bucs finished ninth in Defensive DVOA, and the D was far better at home (fourth) than on the road (16th). They struggled on the road all season, and the Rams offense is a high-flying attack at home but not the same on the road, so the venue change from Week 3 is very significant. So is the extra 36 hours of rest for Tampa.

The Rams are 3-5 against playoff teams now, but that Bucs win is the only one that’s definitely good. The other two wins came against this reeling Cardinals team late in the season, while the Rams had non-competitive losses to the Cards, Titans, 49ers and Packers.

When the Rams look good, they look great, but they’ve had far more questionable performances against good teams.

A once dominant Rams offense has faded down the back half of the season. They rank just 14th in Weighted DVOA offensively, and the passing attack has fallen off mightily. It ranked third over the first 10 weeks but has fallen all the way to 16th since.

LA is also struggling to run the ball. Cam Akers looked bursty on Monday, but Arizona’s run D has been a sieve, so we need to take that with a grain of salt.

The numbers tell us the Rams were an elite offense the first half of the season, but a very average one late.

If the Rams want to go on the road and win in Tampa, it’ll have to be the defense.

Aaron Donald and the defensive line gave the Bucs major problems in the first meeting. Brady was sacked three times, compared to just 19 in his other 16 games. The Rams D has been terrific early in games but poor late. It’s also been much better against the run but leaky against the pass, in part because Jalen Ramsey is about the only starter left in the secondary. That didn’t matter against an awful Kyler Murray, but you better believe it’ll matter against Brady.

The Rams are excellent defending tight ends, but Gronk is not just any tight end. I expect a big receiving game from Gio Bernard, too. He caught five balls on Wild Card Weekend and had nine catches in the first matchup, so I’ll play his receptions over again. Mike Evans could also have a huge game against this secondary, though the Bucs don’t have many receivers left behind him.

Tampa’s injury list is long and growing.

Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are question marks at RB, the corners remain banged up, and most of the receivers are missing. Now the new concern is the offensive line, where RT Tristan Wirfs and C Ryan Jensen played through injuries this past Sunday but remain question marks going forward. These are Pro Bowl linemen, and they’re badly needed against this Rams pass rush.

Brady might be the GOAT, but the best way to beat him has always been getting constant pressure on him.

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The Rams secondary is a big problem, both by talent and health, and Stafford and LT Andrew Whitworth don’t look fully healthy either. Stafford picked up a toe injury in Week 18, then took a huge hit to the solar plexus in the second half on Monday. He wasn’t tested much by the Cardinals, but he’ll be asked to do much more against the Bucs.

And in the end, that’s the matchup I simply can’t get past: Stafford vs. Brady.

I’m not expecting either team to run much, or even try. Both coaches are aggressive and want to get it downfield. And both secondaries are beatable. I’m eyeing the over 48.5 in a potential shootout  —  remember, 58 points last time  — and if both of these quarterbacks throw 40 or 50 times, there’s only one way we can lean.

Stafford has his first playoff win, but he’s still 11-41 in November or later against teams over .500, including an abysmal 14-35-2 against the spread (ATS), covering under 29% of the time. That includes 4-33 as an underdog outright.

Stafford has beaten a winning team in November or later four times in his entire career. Ever.

Tom Brady? Yeah, he’s beaten a few winning teams.

Brady is 76-48-7 (61%) ATS as a favorite of seven or fewer points. He’s 35-23-4 (60%) ATS in coin-flip games with a line at three or fewer points in either direction. And that’s in the regular season. In the playoffs, he’s 9-3 (75%) ATS in such games, covering by an average of 6.2 points and in each of his last six such games.

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Bucs QB Tom Brady

Sometimes it really is that simple.

Sometimes it really does just come down to the quarterback.

I love that the Rams looked invincible against a Cardinals team that they hadn’t been good against in October. But this one win doesn’t erase how terrible Stafford was down the stretch, with eight interceptions over his last four games. This big Rams win and the one earlier this season are buying us significant value on the Bucs.

I’m betting Tampa all the way while we’re still at -3 or lower.

The injury report will be very important, so if the line moves to -3.5 or higher (check real-time NFL odds here), I’ll need to wait to see the names for both teams. In particular, the Bucs need Wirfs and Jensen ready to go, or this whole thing could flip. But I’m optimistic they'll be ready.

I’ve been waiting to fade Stafford and the Rams in the playoffs for a month — this will be our last shot.

How Rams Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs

  • Wild Card Round: Beat Cardinals, 34-11
  • Regular Season: 12-5

Avery Yang: There are few teams in the NFL with more upside, so the Rams are rightfully priced as the fifth favorite to win the Super Bowl. This team is all in, with stars at half their positions, and the lack of draft capital to show for it.

But they have some problems, especially offensively. Matthew Stafford has had a good year, sure, but he leads the league in pick-sixes and always seems to put this team into precarious positions.

Can the Rams rip off three straight wins to get the Super Bowl? Absolutely. But football is a game of variance, and it's up to you to depend on Stafford for three straight high-pressure games. His track record this season — and historically — doesn't allow for much confidence.

How Bucs Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs

  • Wild Card Round: Beat Eagles, 31-15
  • Regular Season: 13-4

Avery Yang: The Bucs are doing what defending champions often do — dropping games you think they shouldn't, but taking care of business before it becomes too serious of a problem.

While Tampa has looked shaky in recent weeks — namely in a 9-0 shutout loss to the Saints and a close win over the Jets in which the NFL's worst defense contained Tom Brady for three-and-a-half quarters — the Bucs still boast the most efficient offense in the NFL and a top-10 defense by EPA.

Still, there are some serious personnel issues, especially at the wide receiver position. Their No. 1 receiver the last few weeks, Antonio Brown, has been booted from the team. Mike Evans is heavily hampered by a lingering hamstring problem. Chris Godwin is out for the year with an ACL tear.

It's going to be an incredibly uphill battle for the greatest quarterback of all time to grab back-to-back rings. And he'll potentially have to do it with two road games before the Super Bowl. If the Rams beat the 49ers, no matter what Tampa does against the Panthers, the highest they can be is the 3-seed. Brady hasn't had two road playoff games since 2006, when the Patriots eventually lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.

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