The winners of the last year’s Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have come to the Divisional Round after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card game. However, their next obstacle on their road to defend the NFC title from last year comes in the form of the Los Angeles Rams.
After dropping the final game of the regular season in overtime to the 49ers, the Rams bounced back convincingly, routing the Cardinals 34-11 in the Wild Card Round matchup Monday night. The Rams used an offensive approach that got their running game more involved, turning to the combination of Cam Akers and Sony Michel, which carried the ball 30 times for 113 rushing yards. With a Divisional Round matchup on the horizon, the Rams will hit the road and face the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
Matt Stafford Coming Off His First Playoff Win
The Rams have been fantastic in the defense for years. No surprise there, as they have such superstars on their defensive team as Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, and others.
This season, however, they’re also superb in the offense. The man who started the Rams’ offensive resurrection is their new quarterback, Matthew Stafford. After arriving in California from the Detroit Lions, the QB has been nothing short of sensational.
The best thing is that, after a few relatively disappointing weeks, Stafford has returned to his best. Last weekend, we saw him leading his team to a win in the Wild Card game, which was Stafford’s first-ever postseason victory.
In the game against Arizona, we saw him recording a quarterback rating of 154.5 – his second-best of the 2021-22 campaign.
He threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions in that game. One of those TD passes was caught by Stafford’s favorite target, receiver Cooper Kupp. The WR has been sensational this season, finishing the regular season with 16 TDs, which is more than any other player in the NFL.
All Eyes on Tom Brady
Two of the Bucs’ leading runners are out with injuries – Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, which means that we probably aren’t going to see them doing much rushing-wise. So instead, the Bucs will probably look for their chances through a passing game.
Luckily for them, they have a great weapon on their hands in the form of quarterback Tom Brady. The 44-year-old finished the regular season as the NFL leader in passing yards, passing TDs, and pass completion.
The bad news is that they have some problems on the receiving end. Antonio Brown is no longer a Buc, while Mike Evans – the Bucs’ leader in receiving TDs – is still struggling with fitness. On the bright side, their leader in receiving yards, Chris Godwin, is fit and ready for Sunday’s game. Further, legendary tight end, Rob Gronkowski is playing top football at the moment.
NFL Divisional Round Pick: Rams +3
The Rams showed what they are made of against the Cardinals. With injuries to key players Rams, as an underdog, should have the capabilities to win this game. Let alone be inside 3 points when the final whistle is blown. Staffords ability to throw it deep with help from his receivers will be the difference-maker. Having Odell only improves his chances. So go ahead and take the Rams +3.