Tampa Bay (2-0) at LA Rams (2-0)
When: Sunday, September 26th, 2021
Where: SoFi Stadium,
Time: 4:25 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -1.5/52.5
The marquee matchup this Sunday features two high-scoring teams in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams. Game time is set for 1:25 local time at beautiful SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Cal. This will be Tom Brady’s first football game in the state of California since the 1998 Rose Bowl when he was Michigan’s backup. Brady and the Bucs come into this contest with a lot of momentum, winning 10 in a row dating back to last year’s Super Bowl run. Tampa is coming off a 48-25 victory over the Atlanta Falcons and are averaging over 35 points a game during the 10-game run including a league-high 39.5 this season.
The Rams are also undefeated to start the season after a 27-24 win at the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. The Rams, Cardinals and 49ers all lead the NFC West with perfect 2-0 marks. The Rams lead the all-time series 17-9 (including playoffs) and have won six of the past seven meetings. Tampa won the last game played in L.A. in 2019 – a thrilling 55-40 victory despite the Rams’ Jared Goff throwing for 517 yards. Goff is now with the Detroit Lions and Matt Stafford is running the offense. Stafford has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 599 yards, with five touchdowns and just one interception.
Tampa Bay is a slight 1.5-point favorite with a whopping total of 56 after opening at 52.5. High scores have been common in recent meetings, with the total topping 50 during a 4-0 run for the Over.
Brady has shown no signs of slowing down in the early going of the 2021 NFL campaign. He’s completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 655 yards and nine touchdowns to just two interceptions. Brady has lots of weapons to throw to including Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and Mike Evans. However, Brown may not play on Sunday after testing positive for Covid-19. The Bucs placed Brown on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, making it likely he will miss Sunday’s game in L.A. Brown is the third Tampa Bay player placed on the COVID list this week, joining linebacker Kevin Minter and practice squad receiver Travis Jonsen. Edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/shoulder) and kick returner Jaydon Mickens (abdomen) did not practice this week and have been ruled out. The Tampa Bay defense limited Atlanta rushers to just 55 total yards last weekend, while a pair of pick-sixes by Mike Edwards in the final quarter sealed the deal. The Buccaneers are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
After dominating the Chicago Bears 34-14 in Week 1, the Rams had their hands full last weekend in Indianapolis. The Rams needed Stafford to bail them out with a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter to get the win. Stafford has been a perfect fit for Sean McVay’s system, and with that, the Rams are scoring 30.5 points per game. On the injury-front, running back Darrell Henderson is nursing a rib issue and might not play Sunday. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd (ankle) also did missed practice Wednesday long with McVay, who battling a stomach bug. The Rams are allowing just 19.0 points and 338.0 total yards per game, eighth and 12th in the league overall. Aaron Donald is 1.5 sacks away from surpassing Leonard Little’s 87.5 sacks and becoming the team’s all-time sacks leader. Since the start of the 2014 season, Donald leads the league in tackles for loss (133), including 14 tackles for loss last season. The Rams are 22-8-1 against the spread in their last 31 games against NFC teams.
This is going to be an entertaining game to watch and I’m looking forward to it. Recent history says this will be a high-scoring game and that’s fine for the Rams now with Stafford. The Bucs will be missing Jason Pierre-Paul and that will make things easier for this McVay offense. The Bucs will score points, but the Rams defense is opportunistic and can create key turnovers. I’ll back the home team.
Pick: Rams +1.5
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