The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a losing record, but still remain in the race for a wild card spot in the NFC as the season winds down. They’ll face the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football, who have a similar record but significantly lower chances of making the playoffs. Here’s the current point spread for the Bucs vs. Rams game.
Thursday Night Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. St. Louis Rams
Point Spread: Rams -2.5 Over/under: 41 Date: Thursday, December 17, 8:25pm ET Location:Edward Jones Dome, St Louis, MO
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a tough loss to their division rival New Orleans Saints, the Bucs will have a chance to bounce back quickly on the national stage. The offense can’t have a repeat performance against the stout Rams defense by coming out flat. They’ll need a fast pace and good balance to keep St. Louis on their heels. The biggest key for Tampa Bay will be getting Doug Martin plenty of opportunities, as his efforts this season have the Bucs as the no. 4 rushing team in the league.
The Bucs get a favorable match up on offense against the Rams, who are second to last in the league in total offense. Without standouts at quarterback or receiver, Tampa Bay can focus on stopping running back and rookie stand out Todd Gurley. Tampa Bay is allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game. Bottling up the run would force the ball into backup quarterback Case Keenum’s hand, which isn’t exactly a winning formula.
St. Louis Rams
What was once considered one of the leagues best defensive lines has softened this season, but they’re still capable of frustrating good offenses. The Rams are allowing just 20 points per game, but are giving up 354 total yards each week which puts them in the bottom of the league. St. Louis is also allowing 115 yards rushing per game, which could spell trouble if Martin is allowed to get some early momentum. If they can contain Martin, the front line can add to their 36 sacks on the season, sixth best in the league.
The status of Todd Gurley is in the air after what appears to have been a non-serious knee injury last weekend . His presence will be a big factor in the Rams offensive efficiency. Without production from Gurley, the offense seems to stall as St. Louis is currently lacking a true starting quarterback and a true no. 1 receiver. St. Louis’ passing attack is currently ranked last in the league, making Gurley’s health and ability to play against Tampa Bay that much more important.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
This game could either be an offensive explosion or a defensive stand off. With two great running backs and two inconsistent defenses, it’s hard to know which team will show up ready to play. The Rams have some momentum heading into this game and will get to play at home. The Bucs, on the other hand, are coming off a tough loss marred by the type of mistakes young, inexperience players make. It’ll be close, but St. Louis gets the win.