Rams vs. Buccaneers NFL Week 9 Betting Preview: Which Struggling Team Turns Things Around?

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No one imagined the Los Angeles Rams (3-4) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) would have losing records for this Week 9 matchup that could have been a preview of the NFC Championship Game. Now, the winner just hopes this game is the start of turning things around.

Rams coach Sean McVay never had a losing record at any point in a season before this year. Tom Brady has never been two games under .500 as a starter in any season of his career until now.

Barring a tie, after this game the Bucs will be 3-6, or the Rams will be 3-5. The loser here may go completely off the rails, making this a huge game for what were two of the NFC’s elite.

The Buccaneers are a 3-point home favorite with a total of 42.5 points at the NFL odds boards. We have some betting picks and predictions for this Week 9 matchup.

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Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, November 06, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium

Tampa Tom’s Kryptonite Looking Mortal This Year

You will often hear this week that the Rams are 3-0 against Tampa Bay in the Tom Brady era, including that 30-27 win in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In fact, the Rams have scored at least 27 points in all three meetings and won twice on the road. Few teams have owned a Brady-led team like this.

Unfortunately, the Rams have scored more than 24 points just once this season (31 against Atlanta). Matthew Stafford is having arguably his worst season in the NFL since he became a quality starter in 2011:

  • Stafford’s 6.8 yards per attempt is his lowest average since his first two seasons in the league (2009-10).
  • He is taking a sack on 8.5% of his dropbacks, which would be the highest season of his career.
  • He is throwing a touchdown on 2.7% of his passes, which would be the worst touchdown rate of his career.
  • Through seven games in 2021, Stafford had 19 touchdowns to four interceptions and a 116.7 passer rating.
  • Through seven games in 2022, Stafford has seven touchdowns to eight interceptions and an 85.5 passer rating.

On the bright side, Stafford is the first quarterback in NFL history to complete at least two-thirds of his passes in each of the first seven games of a season. But his 9.7 yards per completion would be a career low for a qualified season. He’s just not getting enough production per throw or per completion in this offense that relies heavily on Cooper Kupp.

In fact, the Rams almost lost Kupp for the season with a late injury as he had no business playing in a 31-14 game against San Francisco on Sunday. The Rams seem to have dodged a bullet with Kupp not suffering structural damage, and the hope is that Kupp will play in Tampa. But it is unlikely he will be 100%.

For the Rams to do what they usually do against Tampa, which is throwing frequently, it may prove impossible if Kupp is not his usual self. Look at these passing lines for the last three wins by the Rams over Tampa Bay:

  • 2021 Stafford, NFC Divisional (W 30-27): 28-of-38 for 366 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT (Kupp: 183 yards, TD)
  • 2021 Stafford, Week 3 (W 34-24): 27-of-38 for 343 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT (Kupp: 96 yards, 2 TD)
  • 2020 Goff, Week 11 (W 27-24): 39-of-51 for 376 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT (Kupp: 145 yards)

The Tampa defense has cracked at times this year, and it just lost pass rusher Shaq Barrett for the season due to injury. But with the Rams being so one-dimensional on offense this year, it shouldn’t be that hard to keep the score down this week.

Notice that the under is just 42.5 points while the last three meetings have all gone over 50.5 points. As much as things have changed in Los Angeles, they have changed in Tampa Bay too.

What Is Tampa Bay’s Problem?

Part of the Rams’ recent success against Tampa has been pressuring Tom Brady and making him look bad. Well, he is doing a fine job of looking bad each week on his own this year. He doesn’t need Aaron Donald to help him with that.

This is a stretch unlike anything we have seen in Brady’s long career. He is 1-5 in his last six starts, yet he has not been intercepted since opening night against Dallas. The Tampa offense has not turned the ball over once in the last four games, and the only turnover during that time was the special teams muffing a punt against Baltimore.

So, it is not like this offense is killing itself with fumbles, tipped picks, and general bad bounces of the ball going to the opponent. They are getting stopped cold, or in Mike Evans’ case against Carolina, dropping a wide-open touchdown bomb as things have just looked off since Week 1.

Brady's Struggles

Brady is also getting rid of the ball faster than ever, which helps to keep the pressures and sacks down, but it is not helping the offense produce big plays. Too often he is throwing short of the sticks and not being aggressive enough to help move the chains.

We said Stafford is aiming for a career-low in touchdown rate (2.7%), but Brady is even lower at 2.6%. His worst season in that stat was 3.9% with the Patriots in 2019, his final season there.

The Rams rank 31st in rushing yards and yards per carry, but the Buccaneers are 32nd in both areas, making this the matchup of the two worst rushing offenses in football. The Bucs have rushed for 51, 35, and 42 yards in their last three matchups with the Rams. Those totals represent Tampa’s three worst rushing games in the team’s last 37 games.

Rams-Buccaneers: Best Bets and Prediction

This game should still come down to the quarterback play since neither team is going to run the ball well. It comes down to pass rush and protection. Brady has had better protection than Stafford, and the Rams rank 31st in pressure rate despite having Donald.

Meanwhile, Stafford has been under siege against good defensive fronts. The Buccaneers have taken some lumps with injuries and regression on that side, but they blitz a lot and their pass rush is more productive than the Rams this season.

Throw in home-field advantage, Brady having a few extra days to rest his body after playing last Thursday, the potential of Kupp being limited to injury, and I like the Buccaneers to cover and end this losing streak for your NFL picks.

The game should still produce enough points between these two to hit the over. As for a prop pick, Chris Godwin missed the playoff meeting with a torn ACL. He has three touchdowns in three games against the Rams. He is getting a ton of targets every week but still doesn’t have a touchdown in 2022. Bet on that drought to end and for Godwin to score his first touchdown.

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 24 - Rams 20

NFL Pick: Over 42.5 Points (-110) at Bovada

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Over 42.5 Points (-110)
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NFL Pick: Buccaneers -3 (-110) at Bovada

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Buccaneers -3 (-110)
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NFL Pick: Chris Godwin Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+160) at Bovada

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Chris Godwin Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+160)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.