How LA Rams might have fared in the NFC Championship Game?
By Bret Stuter
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been absent from the postseason for a time, but their expectation upon signing free-agent quarterback Tom Brady was to win a Super Bowl instantly. The fact that they defeated the New Orleans Saints to earn their berth in the NFC Championship game should surprise nobody. The Bucs had a solid defense all season and continued to tweak the offense to get it into playoff-caliber readiness.
When the Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they faced the best of the Bucs in that game. Goff threw for 376 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Brady threw for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Neither would be nearly as vulnerable if they had a rematch in the NFC Championship Game.
The big difference would have fallen to the Rams offensive line, and the running of rookie running back Cam Akers. RB Akers was finally hitting his peak, and he simply was not a factor in the first contest. But if the Rams version of the NFC Championship Game, he would most certainly have been so. Over his last seven games, he averaged 92 yards per game plus scored a touchdown in every other contest. He also became a factor in the passing game as a receiver.
On defense, Donald would have another week to heal. So too would ILB Micah Kiser and DB Taylor Rapp. And as far as the Bucs, they defeated the New Orleans Saints to earn the right to play in the same game? The Rams defense, having gotten past the Packers, would be able to defeat a familiar foe once more. And that would halt the Bucs, and propel the Rams into the Super Bowl.