The LA Rams have started the 2021 season off on fire with a 2-0 record. It was clear that veteran QB Matthew Stafford didn’t need a preseason to get up to speed as he’s thrown for nearly 600 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. His completion percentage is close to 70 and his QB rating is 127.
With Stafford under center, the LA Rams offense has scored an impressive 61 points in two games. There opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have picked up right where they left off last year as Super Bowl Champions. Their offense is, of course, lead by the G.O.A.T QB Tom Brady. At age 44, he’s arguably playing the best football of his career.
Brady has thrown for 655 yards, nine touchdowns, and just two interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 65 and has a QB rating of 113.3. They have scored an astounding 79 points although two of the touchdowns were the result of pick-sixes by Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards. Both teams are 2-0 and are battling for the early season NFC playoff berth advantage.
The betting odds on WynnBET have the Buccaneers currently as the road favorite (-1.0) on Sunday at 1:25 pm PT with the over/under being 55.5. The odds on this game are gyrating wildly. Yesterday, the Rams were the favorite (-1.0) and the over/under was set at 54.5. This game is getting a lot of attention. Here are our recommendations for the game if you want to get some of the action.
There’s a lot on the line for the LA Rams in this one because they are tied for first place in the NFC West Division with the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, both of whom are also 2-0. The Seattle Seahawks are in fourth-place in the division at 1-1. The NFC West will be a dog fight all year and each game that the Rams play will be critical. This will be a very tough game to win, but the Rams will at least have the home-field advantage on their side. Meanwhile the Buccaneers will want to keep pace with the Carolina Panthers at 2-0 in the NFC South.
Rams offensive weapons
Running back Darrel Henderson leads the Rams with 223 rushing yards, but his availability is in question following a rib injury he suffered during the Indianapolis Colts game. If he cannot go, expect the Rams to lean heavily upon the rushing of recently acquired Sony Michael.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp leads the team in receiving with 16 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns. That’s good enough to be the third-ranked receiver in the NFL. Second year wide receiver Van Jefferson has been a nice surprise with 94 yards and a touchdown. They would like to see more from WR Robert Woods and TE Tyler Higbee who have 91 and 76 yards respectively. Finally, fans are waiting patiently to see something more from WR DeSean Jackson, who has played 17 offensive snaps and caught both passes thrown his way for 21 yards. The Rams can exploit the Bucs secondary, which has shown to be vulnerable giving up over 350 yards per game.
Running back Leonard Fournette leads the Bucs ground game with 20 rushes for 84 yards followed by Ronald Jones with 10 rushes for 41 yards. But the Buccaneers have only attempted 35 rushes so far, compared to 86 passes off the arm of quarterback Tom Brady.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin leads all Buccaneer receivers with 13 catches and 167 yards and two touchdowns. TE Rob Gronkowski leads the team in scoring with four touchdowns and has really turned back the clock with Brady, catching 12 of 13 passes thrown his way. Mike Evans has had mild numbers with eight catches out of 15 targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
Antonio Brown had a huge week one against the Dallas Cowboys which accounted for the majority of his 138 yards, but he is unlikely to play Sunday due to a positive test result for COVID-19. Brown creates coverage mismatches in the middle of the field, and the Rams may have dodged a bullet in this one. Defensive back Jalen Ramsey will likely be lined up on the outside against Evans, Godwin, or perhaps even Gronkowski.
The LA Rams defense will be led by All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald who has 10 tackles and one sack for the Rams. He often attracts double-teamed, which should free up other pass rushers like Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, or perhaps rookie Chris Garrett. The Rams will need a strong performance from the entire secondary, with defensive backs Taylor Rapp (19 tackles) and Jordan Fuller (18 tackles) have been very productive so far.
For the Buccaneers, LB Devin White leads the defense with with 11 tackles. OLB Shaq Barret has one sack and one interception. Linebacker Lavonte David has 19 tackles already for the Bucs These players will be the key on defense for both teams.
Prediction: This game gives me a similar feel to the Rams and Kansas City classic Monday Night Football prime time shootout. I think it will be a thrilling game with both teams trading punches, but I’m afraid that the the Buccaneers will ultimately win this one by the smallest of margins, 41-40