The Tampa Bay Buccaneers advanced to the NFC Divisional Round Playoffs following their dominating victory against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. The Los Angeles Rams also dominated their opponent in the Arizona Cardinals this past Monday and earned a trip to Raymond James Stadium to face the Bucs.
This Divisional Round matchup sees the Bucs favored by 2.5 points, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Bucs Nation staff has offered up some bold predictions and scores throughout the regular season, but are now doing the same for the postseason. See let’s what they have to say for this week below.
Divisional Round Bold Predictions
James: In the first meeting between these two, there was no pressure on Stafford at all. He had clean pockets to work in, was only sacked one time, and was able to pick apart a makeshift secondary in the absence of Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Jason Pierre-Paul. This time around, there’s a little difference. JPP is back and the Bucs certainly hope that Murphy-Bunting will be ready to go after missing last week with a hamstring injury. The Bucs defense will get to Stafford, sacking him four times and generating two takeaways that will lead to Bucs touchdowns.
Bailey: It was the NFC Divisional Round last year when Devin White really took over and dominated the game, helping the Bucs send the Saints home for the offseason. That marked the beginning of what would go on to be a phenomenal playoff run for him. Now, this hasn’t quite been the season that anyone expected it would be for White, especially after his playoff performance in 2021. But I think he just reaches another level in the playoffs, and after a solid game against Philadelphia last week, he’s gonna create chaos on Sunday against the Rams. Mark him down for multiple splash plays—let’s say he picks up a sack and plays a part in a key turnover.
David: Going extra bold here, because there’s no guarantee John Brown will even be active for this game. But if he is, he presents an ‘X-Factor’ for the Bucs, especially against a vulnerable defense that already has its hands full with Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. So give me Brown not only playing, but scoring two touchdowns against the Rams.
Mike: If the Bucs are going to win this game, and that’s a decent-sized if, I believe it will ride on Tom Brady’s golden arm. This isn’t the first time Brady has faced a tough opponent while being short-handed, and he is a little older, but he might just have what it takes for another huge performance. We’ll peg Brady for a 400-yard, 4-touchdown day with no turnovers.
Editor’s Pick by Gil Arcia: Sunday’s matchup will be 22 years to the day since the Bert Emanuel catch/no-catch on-field ruling during the 1999’s season NFC Championship game between the Bucs and Rams. It also marks 22 years since Tampa Bay’s then great defense dominated the then high-powered “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams offense. Tampa Bay lost 11-6 that evening. Moral of the story? The Buccaneers will need their defense to be dominating and their receivers to catch footballs to keep hopes of winning alive in this one.
I like that David mentioned the receivers in his prediction, but the bold prediction I’m riding with this week is from James. The secondary of the Buccaneers will have to make sure they are keeping the receivers in front of them while the pass rush has to get pressure on Stafford often and consistently. That’s the only way Tampa Bay will be able to keep today’s high-powered Rams offense to a similar score we saw then.
Which bold prediction do you like most for the NFC Divisional Round?
This poll is closed
Bucs defense dominates
White creates splash plays
Brown activated, scores twice
Brady throws for 400 yds, 4 TDs, 0 TOs
Staff Picks for the Divisional Round
As stated above, Tampa Bay is currently a 2.5-point favorite via DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under for the game is set at 48.5. Here are the staff picks and score predictions for this week’s game between the Bucs and Rams.
Gil (14-3, 1-0): Rams, 30-23
James (13-4, 1-0): Bucs, 30-21
David (13-4, 1-0): Bucs, 27-20
Bailey (14-3, 1-0): Bucs, 30-26
Mike (14-3, 1-0): Rams, 28-24
Len (14-3, 1-0): Rams, 27-20
Trey (14-3, 1-0): Rams, 31-27